The Mountains Are Calling

The mountains are calling

The Smoky Mountains are one of my favorite places! We have been there in several different seasons. Our wedding anniversary is in September, so we have been there a few times in the early fall. Most of the leaves haven’t started to think of changing yet, though. We have been there in March and seeing the snow in the mountains was amazing. July 4th weekend is not a great time to go, however. Our family took a trip there with the motorcycles and it was bumper to bumper most of the time. Not my idea of a good time. However, we had an awesome cabin and we found things to do away from the crowds.

Romantic? Uh, no!

We just returned from an anniversary trip there a week ago. My husband and I rented a cabin to celebrate. I found the cabin on the site we’ve used before and always had amazing places to stay. It wasn’t a “bargain basement” deal, but it should have been.

It was listed as secluded and in the woods. I went expecting that we would not have cell service or TV channels. The cabin was off the main road 3/4 of a mile. It was a gravel road, very rutted and steep. Anything in your vehicle not strapped down would fly around! The road was so steep that at one point, there was a small loop around to bypass it. We were told we would have 2 parking spaces for our cabin. Seemed very odd because there was another cabin right next door and nowhere for them to park. All was well there as long as we returned before the neighbors so we could back into the area.

The Uh-menities

The cabin itself wasn’t bad. It was in clear need of maintenance and repair though. We were surprised that the one bedroom we rented was really a studio. It was very dark and had a lot of little quirks. One of which was you had to walk into a closet to get to the bathroom which had no door. But, you could watch TV in the bathroom. Still just super weird to me! I would have thought money would have been better spent making sure your cleaning company actually cleans. There was a moldy, mildew covered shower curtain liner hanging up for us! Wohoo! (Nope! Walmart to the rescue there.)

Jolly Green Giant must have stayed there before us. The mirror above the vanity in the bathroom was hung so high that I could barely see the top of my head. I’m 5’4″ tall. Not tall by any stretch of the imagination, however, not short either.

The cabin was kept cool by a small window air conditioner which was moldy. Ick. However, it was 87 degrees out and too hot to turn it off.

Cool your jets

We stepped outside totally excited to use the hot tub. It was a blow-up hot tub with grooved cushions inside. It wasn’t up to temperature since it had been cleaned so we didn’t use it anyway. The cover was thick with leaves and sap. It didn’t look as if it had been used recently. We didn’t see any wet areas where it would have been dumped out either. I am not a germaphobe, however, based on the knock out job the cleaning crew did inside I was not convinced this was clean. I can’t imagine it is even allowable for commercial use. Didn’t matter anyway, it was broken.

 

We were super unhappy with the place, but we had nowhere else to go, or money to go anywhere else. We decided to use the jacuzzi tub in the room. Apparently, there is a “glitch” with the well pump and the water will randomly turn off. I called the owner and he assured me this “happens all the time.” He said to just wait 30 seconds and turn it back on and it’ll work again. I imagine that’s really fun if you’re showering and have soap in your eyes. Ugh. That did work. The water pressure is very low so it took over 20 minutes to fill up the tub. We got in and were ready for the jets to melt away some stress. It didn’t work.

I sent a couple texts and emails to the owner about this and the hot tub. I didn’t call because I was trying to be courteous, thinking he probably worked somewhere else as well and it was late. Finally, late the next day he got someone out to fix the jacuzzi tub. He was super snarky informing me that this guy was a “handyman”, not a “hot tub guy.” Whatever.We were grateful after a day of hiking to be able to come back and relax in the jacuzzi tub. It was a hard surface and much more “cleanable” than a blow-up hot tub too. (Don’t misunderstand, those are probably perfect for a private home.)

The fix

We tried to make the best of it. Packed lunches and left early. Hiked and spent time peacefully having lunch next to the river. We did a strenuous hike and had lunch at the base of a 30ft waterfall. No crowds. Just peace and quiet. We stayed out until nearly dark just to minimize the amount of time we had to spend here. The cabin may have been historic. I think the mattress Abe Lincoln slept on was on our bed.

The Wildlife

We got up early one morning and drove out to Cades Cove to do some wildlife viewing. Evidently, the National Quartet Convention that was in town, had lots of early risers. It was pretty crowded there. We did see some horses and turkeys. Oh and a squirrel and a chipmunk. Lots of people were pulled off supposedly looking at a bear. We didn’t see scat! At one point, I was looking up at the trees and I was taking a photo of how the sun was dancing off the leaves and I turned around and there were a long line of people in cars driving past us (we were pulled off the side of the road) pointing up at the trees I was photographing trying to see what I saw. Haha. We laughed over that one.

However, an idea was launched. If you see a sasquatch costume on clearance after Halloween in an Extra large, let me know. My husband wants to go there early in the day dressed up and run through the open valley. We thought it would be a thoughtful gesture for all the folks who go there and don’t get to see anything!  Do you think anyone will suspect him if he wears the costume while he’s driving?

Not to be outdone, we have a second plan. We’re going to one of these pull-offs and we’re going to jump out of the car, race to the side of the road and excitedly jump up and down and point! I may cover my mouth with my hand for effect. I will also motion with a grand performance to my husband and snap photos like a crazy person. When we get a long line of people stopped and gathered around us we will reveal that we’ve seen a squirrel!

All in all, I think it’s a solid plan. Give the people what they want!

 

 

 

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Everything I Needed To Know, I Learned From My Dog

Everything I Needed To Know, I Learned From My Dog

So, if you have been walking this life journey with me for any length of time, you know that I see things very differently.

This post will not vary from that theme.

A little while ago, my grandson was visiting. He is the joy of our hearts! Such a fun kid.

It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from him. (And I always thought it was supposed to be the other way around!)  He is always super happy to help do little chores around the house. One of the things he really likes is to feed the dogs.

The Process of Filling the Bowls

One morning, he was helping to fill the dog bowls. We are of the persuasion that if we feed them a high-quality food we will be picking up smaller piles in the yard. Not for sure on the science of this since they both seem to be full of it. Consequently, this food is in tiny, little bits. We have a medium dog and a little dog so it seems to be a good fit for both.

Anyway, this sweet little guy is filling up the bowls for me. One kibble at a time. We got the little dog’s bowl filled in about 20 minutes. She’s getting up there in years so I took it out to her. Life is short.  The other dog was beyond excited. She was sitting up. Sitting up pretty. She was trying to give him a high-five! She laid down. Danced in a circle. Rolled over and stared at him with big soulful eyes.

The other dog was beyond excited. She was sitting up. Sitting up pretty. She was trying to give him a high-five! Shake.  She laid down. Danced in a circle. Rolled over and stared at him with big soulful eyes. She was on her game.

This little man was not to be swayed. He was focused on the task at hand. Luckily for the dog, he would drop an occasional piece and she would scurry off to get it. At this point, her tail wagging had swept a small portion of my utility room. She was drooling to beat the band. Finally, he was finished.

Joy broke out as he carried it to the kitchen and gave it to her. She’s a beagle and did a bit of dancing similar to Snoopy.

Parallels

There are parallels between this scene and my relationship with God. (I told you I see things WAY differently).  God only gives his children good things. He doesn’t punish us. He doesn’t send down bolts of lightning if someone who doesn’t normally go, enters the church on a Sunday. (Sorry to burst your bubble, Dad). We have free will!

The Giver

If I were to picture this scene with God filling up the bowl and me being the one waiting on the food, there are a few things I am certain of. The first that God would never tease me by purposely filling the bowl a kibble at a time, even if I feel like that is true. Secondly, I know that the bowl would be filled to overflowing.

The Receiver

What I need to remember and put into practice that my dog did while waiting for the bowl to be filled is simple. God will always be there to feed me (take care of me, walk with me). He will never withhold anything. What I need to remember in the time of waiting is to stay focused on the provision and remember all of God’s gifts are good. He is good all the time. I need to remember not to lie down and sleep. I need to keep wagging my tail and believing for these good things to happen.

So, Who’s with me? Let’s sit up and give a high-five! Our time of waiting is nearly over and the plans to prosper us are just about to happen!

Taste and see the goodness of the Lord 🙂

 

Posted in Children, Family, Happiness, Perspective, scripture | 5 Comments

Waiting

Waiting

Presumably, I am not the only person who doesn’t like to wait.

It seems like everywhere you go you have to wait.

Dining out always entails a wait. Especially Texas Road House, holy moly! You get there at 5pm and it’s packed.

Anyway, the time you are waiting seems to be greatly impacted by why you are waiting.

For example, if you are at the dentist’s office the time you are waiting for the examination to be completed seems to take much longer than the line you are waiting in at Cedar Point.

Road trips always seem to take so much longer to get to your destination than to get back home. The distance to a rest area is not in proportion to the level of fullness of one’s bladder. You’ll pass by 50 of them when you don’t need one and none when you do!

Time seems to creep along when you’re pregnant but everyone else’s seems to fly by!

Kids grow up much faster than adults do. One moment they’re celebrating their first birthday and the next you’re getting an invitation to their wedding in the mail. Warp speed.

You go to the doctor’s office, clearly, you will be waiting or they have designed a whole room without a purpose.

Recently, I had a routine test done. I was notified that I needed some additional testing to rule out any problems. The additional testing was completed the next morning. Then, I had to wait a week to find out the results. Two phone calls to the Dr’s office and finally I got a return call. The test showed nothing out of the ordinary. However, the person who called told me to follow up with another doctor. I asked why but she didn’t know so I am waiting to hear what I need to do for my next step. Why do you need a follow-up if everything is fine?

Waiting is tough. It makes me anxious. Anxiety makes me antsy. Being antsy lately, has made me crafty. At least that is a productive thing if not a cheap thing!

Anyway, my takeaway from all this is to try to return phone calls and texts faster.

So, if you are in a season of Waiting, remember you are never alone. God is always right there with you.

 

 

Posted in Happiness, Health | 3 Comments

The Job Interview

The Job Interview

The past few months I have had several job interviews and I thought it would be a good idea to pass along to you the wisdom I have gleaned.

Possible Interview Questions

Clearly, life is difficult. Avoid answering the question, “What is your greatest challenge in the workplace?” with “making the world’s longest paper clip chain.”

When asked what your best asset is, refrain from answering with the number of shots of tequila you can handle before you hit the barroom floor.

At your interview when they ask you to describe yourself in three words, do not reply, “Drunk, Manipulative and Sexy.”

Criminal History

First of all, if the application asks if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime, do not answer with any of the following:

I stole a pack of gum from Speedway when I was four and I can’t chew gum to this day

It wasn’t until I was busted by the fashion police that I realized how many of the laws I was breaking

Convicted and tried by the court of “if looks could kill” when I was caught raiding my child’s Halloween candy

And just leave off the whole lecture and conviction from the dentist for not flossing regularly.

Attire for the Interview

Be aware that when you dress for the interview and you are told to dress comfortably, it’s a trap. Reconsider any of the following items:

Unless you are applying to be a bouncer at a rough nightclub, or as an extra in a movie about life as a homeless person, do not wear holey jeans.

My normal tip for a bad haircut is to wear a low-cut blouse so no one notices your hair, however, this is not good for an interview.

If you decide to dress up and wear staggeringly high heels to the interview, practice walking in them first while looking in a mirror. If your face is scrunched up in pain and you’re crying with every step, you may give the wrong impression to the interviewer.

Employment History

As credible as it is, please do not list your lemonade stand from when you were seven,  with you as the sole proprietor.

Short-order cook, while a job many people have in the home, does not translate to the public sector. FYI, you cannot make a customer sit at the table until he or she has finished everything on their plate.

Education

If you are of a certain age, avoid references to hickory switches behind the barn, as your primary education.

Also, avoid references to being old enough that you did not use computers on a daily basis while in school, but that you wrote in the dirt with sticks.

Truly a well-known institution by many, but avoid stating the years that you attended the “school of hard knocks”.

References

Avoid references that refer to you by your nicknames. Employers may get the wrong idea when you are called, “the snake”,”the enforcer,”  or worst of all “five-finger Louie.”

Lastly, before using a person as a professional reference, make sure that you do not owe them money. Employers seem to be turned off by hearing, “That *bleeping* scumbag owes me $50!”

 

 

 

 

Posted in Happiness, Perspective | 8 Comments

The Ride for Sierah

The Ride for Sierah

Yesterday, my husband and I participated in a charity motorcycle ride. It was the first one we’d ever done together. We arrived early, not knowing what to expect for the crowd or for the registration process. We watched as countless bikes rolled in. Their number nearly covering the back parking lot and wrapping to the side of the Harley-Davidson building where we were gathered. It was amazing to see. Thank you to the Harley-Davidson dealership for their hard work and willingness to open their business up to all of us.

          

         

The Purpose

The ride was both to honor and remember the life of an amazing young woman. Her boyfriend gave a short but inspiring speech. He was surrounded by both his family and hers. His last instruction to us before we rode was to text someone and tell them that you love them. That struck a chord in everyone and all around you saw people sending their messages to loved ones.

Kickstands UP!

The leaders started up their bikes and all around us was a flurry of activity. People starting their bikes, putting on helmets, passengers climbing aboard. Then just the roar of the bike engines as everyone sat at attention waiting to roll out.

We were in the first 1/4 to 1/2 mile of the ride. The riders following stretched out farther than I could see. So amazing! You could feel the rumble of the engines in your chest. It was exhilarating and sobering at the same time.

I don’t recall the exact route of the ride but we traveled down US20 (Central Ave) for awhile and traveled through the cemetery where Sierah was laid to rest. There were dozens of people there. We also traveled through Lyons, Metamora, Morenci, Fayette, Goll Woods and the outskirts of Wauseon to end up at the Fulton County United Veteran’s Pavillion at the Fulton County Fairgrounds where we had a great meal. There were tons and tons of people there to greet the riders and support the family. All through the route, we saw people lining the streets of the towns, people standing at the end of their driveways out in the country, cars stopped at intersections waving and cheering. It was just unbelievable.

I am praying for a couple of riders that we were told had an accident while on the ride. Prayers for little to no injury and for a speedy recovery to all.

Tears

I was surprised at my own emotions. I cried like a baby. Even when I didn’t feel emotionally broken I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. I can’t put into words how powerful this was. For the record, we do not know Sierah or her family. We know people who knew her but we had no connection. That is the reason why it took me by surprise the depth of emotion that this ride brought out.

Love and Support from the Community

I pray that Sierah’s family and friends were able to feel the love pouring out from the ride participants and all of the other people yesterday. It was palatable.

I hope and pray that the people of the communities can begin to heal from this tragedy. The loss strangers had is nothing in comparison to the loss that her family and friends suffered, and by no means do I mean to belittle that. All I mean is that people can begin to heal and to not be afraid of the dark, not to be suspicious of a new neighbor or to keep to themselves because the world is a dark place. I pray that through all of this, somehow God would be glorified. The work that was started by this amazing young woman would continue. I’ve heard that she was friendly and had a way to make everyone at ease and happy. That is something that is truly special.

Keeping Our Girls Safe

The organization, Keeping our girls safe, uses the proceeds to give free self-defense classes to women. I heard somewhere, and this may be just speculation, that they want to be able to make self-defense classes available in the schools. Take that with a grain of salt as to the validity of it, but I think it is a great idea.

Consequently, the big takeaway of the day, tell your people you love them. We don’t know the future.

#justice for Sierah

#keeping our girls safe

 

 

Posted in Family, Happiness, Perspective, Travel | 2 Comments

So Much I Never Knew

So Much I Never Knew

Recently, I have had the privilege to a couple of friends to their appointments. Funny thing is, I never thought about until this moment that they have the same first name! Ha ha.

My Independence

The first one is a lady whose husband passed away about two years ago. She was having a bunch of pain and a lot of difficulties walking.  The doctors are searching to see if she has a slipped disc or if it is sciatica that is causing her so much pain.

The therapy is hard work and she is very tired when it’s over. I believe she has begun to see some improvement and a lessening of pain.

I have learned from her that it is difficult to ask for help with things around the house. With errands, grocery shopping, etc. To be honest, I thought she didn’t want to ask because she didn’t want to impose or be a bother. However, after a bit of time I have realized that is true, but it isn’t the real reason it bothers her to ask for help. Help is difficult to ask for when you are afraid that you are losing the ability to take care of yourself and live at home alone.

That thought would never have crossed my mind. I’m younger and I know that I will recover from an injury or illness and be able to climb stairs, etc. I didn’t see it through her eyes to understand that as you get older you understand that a day may come when you are no longer able to climb a flight of stairs or care for yourself alone. The day may come when you have to give up independence and the home you’ve lived in for years.

Just going to therapy isn’t the hard part. The hard part is overcoming your fear of the unknown. That’s scary for all of us.

Ride Along

I’ve been honored to ride along with another friend to a couple of her radiation treatments. She has fought bravely. She is in the last week of treatments now and has already finished Chemo treatments.

I am honored to go with her and be her battle buddy for a short part of this battle. She had begun to lose her hair following the completion of her Chemo treatments. Clearly, this is a difficult and traumatic thing for anyone. (I have to be consoled with lollipops if my hairstylist cuts off more than 2″at a time. Truly, I am a big baby.)

So, anyway after riding to treatment with her I decided I would like to make her a hat to wear. Something fun and colorful. A hat fitting her personality!

I hit the fabric store with my mission in mind. Found some great fabric and a pattern and sewed away like a crazy person. She loves her hats and enjoys wearing them especially since radiation can interrupt your body’s ability to regulate temperatures. She looks beautiful in her hats and I am honored to be able to be with her on this journey and if it helped to give her a moment of dignity that’s even better!

Take Away

If someone refuses to allow you to help them, maybe they are just afraid of losing the ability to do for themselves.

The unknown is a terrifying place.

Be kind. We can never know what someone is going through.

If you are able: sew a hat for someone going through cancer treatments, make a meal or share your table with someone (invite them to dinner), run errands, mow grass, or just offer to stay with them for company if they prefer.

So much I never knew. So much that we share.

 

 

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What Not To Do

What Not To Do

Genuinely as we travel down life’s pathway we run into situations that we can chalk up to “what NOT to do.” However, don’t hear this as a negative. Learning our personal limits is a huge part of growth.

That being said,  I have recently done some practice tests for a job interview. The tests were online and I was practicing them at home before the real deal later in the week. Happily, my reading comprehension is excellent! Thank God!

However, my personal triumphs fall short when I enter the Math arena. There you will find dastardly foes such as square roots and PI. And sadly, it is not home baked or yummy.

Really, I’m not kidding

Also, I have discovered during my life that I have never needed to use complex fractions in my personal life. When my children were small and I had to divide a cookie, I just cracked that baby in half. One side would inevitably be bigger than the other but that lesson served to teach my children that life is unfair. Nothing that a few years of therapy can’t take care of.  It’s part of the reason we only had 2 kids. If you have 3 you’re automatically doing fractions all the time. How on earth do you break a cookie into 3 pieces? That’s like sharing a bottle of wine! What?

Clearly, If I had to measure something, I would just count the little lines on the tape measure and make sure, Oh, who am I kidding! I just eyeball the location of the piece of furniture I want to move and then creativity would be unleashed. Nothing says “solve this puzzle” like getting your sofa jammed in the doorway! It’s the mother of invention, I’m telling you. You can get very creative with a couch jammed between rooms and kids climbing and dogs barking.

Beefing up my Resume

So, my resume probably won’t boast Brain surgeon or engineer. Pretty sure those are top contenders for me on the What not to do list. These things I do feel like need to have precise measuring. It would be kind of useless to have a bridge that doesn’t meet up with the roadway. Medical stuff is not my thing even beyond the Math. All that blood and guts. Yuck. That just needs to stay where it belongs.

Consequently, along this journey of what not to do, I have found a few things that I am good at doing. The majority of my life has been working in customer service. I have been a waitress for eleven years.  Working in customer service is not for the faint of heart and I did it for nine years and I have never been charged with assault or criminal mischief. Working with the public for any length of time earns you tiny unseen gold stars. I have found joy in telling grumpy people to “have a good day.” Clearly, they wouldn’t have thought of it on their own.

Find your Strengths

So, hold your head up high! Find your strengths, and remember this:

If a polka-dotted zebra buys a pair of red shoes at 73.75% off on Tuesday morning, and fills his car up at $2.109 a gallon with unleaded gasoline on Wednesday night, what movie should he see on Thursday?

a) none of the above

b) Silence of the Lambs

c) 12

d) all of the above

 

 

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Ready, Set, Go!

Ready, Set, Go!

We’ve been blessed recently to be able to spend some extra time with our grandson. Unlike a lot of grandparents, we have not had the privilege of living near him. Any time we have is precious. The closest is three hours down and three hours back home. I am excited for that since it is closer than crossing 4 time zones!

We’ve been stopping at a State park along the drive to get out and run around and just have some fun. The playground equipment is very tall and some is a little tricky. After a few minutes of showing him how to do it, he was off and running. However, he wanted me to stand next to him while he did it. Not helping or anything. Just standing there in case he needed me.

National Thresher’s Reunion

We took him to see the National Thresher’s Reunion here at the Fairgrounds in town. If you are not familiar with it, it is a show for tractors of all types and sizes. The main feature and historically significant ones are the old steam tractors that use either wood or coal.The weather didn’t cooperate very well with our plans for the day. We had a very heavy downpour and the sky looked iffy at best when it wasn’t pouring. We decided to go and look at the tractors anyway.  Our grandson was fascinated by all of the different types of tractors, the colors the different wheels.

The very best parts of the show were the tractors that have tracks like a bulldozer and not wheels. Also, the wheels that were taller than Grandpa. Watching the old steam tractors move, blow their whistles and make tracks with their old metal tires in the thick mud on the infield. That mud came home as a souvenir too.

We laughed as he jumped up and down yelling, “Tractors, Tractors and MORE Tractors.” The photos resemble more of a kaleidoscope of colors but the sound of his laughter lasts longer in my heart.

Ready,  Set, Go!

We are blessed to have permission to use a family member’s pool. They are away on Vacation but they allowed us to come swimming. We put the life jacket on our grandson and supplemented it with bright orange swimmy armbands. I carried him in with me and as soon as his feet hit the water, he was off and swimming.

He loved jumping off the side of the pool to “my hands.”  We were trying to teach him to take a big breath and then close his mouth before he jumped to keep him from swallowing a bunch of water. He stood at the very edge of the pool. Little toes just off the edge. Arms raised out towards us and said “Ready,” and squeezed his eyes shut. “Set,” and he puffed out his little kissable cheeks. “Go!” He shouted as he jumped with his mouth wide open laughing like crazy. It’s a learning process.

The Diving Board, Grandma!

I made the mistake of helping him jump off the diving board into the deep end of the pool. He was thrilled and did it again and again! It’s a lot harder to tread water while you have your arms out to catch a thirty-two-pound ball of energy hurtling itself at you. It’s all good. I know I don’t normally drink enough water so I feel like I caught up a little bit tonight. The water level of the pool looked like it was down an inch or so though. Hmmm.

What He Taught Me

I got a glimpse of the world through my grandson’s eyes. He reminded me a few things that I have learned and that I “know” but sometimes forget.

God is always right there beside us. We pray and ask for directions and clarity. Then we think we are on our own. We’re not. He is standing there right beside us. He won’t reach out and give us a boost or instruction unless we ask Him. But, He is there!

What he taught me also is that God delights in our joy and wonder many times over more than we delight in our loved one’s joy. It’s kind of incredible, really. Beyond our imagination.

Ready, Set. Go! God will catch us when we jump into what he is calling us to do. I envy the simple faith of the child who has no idea that you are ill-equipped to properly catch them in the deep end. He knows you love him and he trusts you. I want to trust God that way. I want to jump into the deep end and laugh like crazy! Wanna come?

 

 

 

 

Posted in Children, Family, Happiness, Perspective | 5 Comments

Las Vegas Beyond the Neon Lights

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Las Vegas Beyond the Neon Lights Wow! Las Vegas is quite a city to behold. It seems to rise out of the desert with soaring skyscraper hotels and buildings. It’s amazing to see the skyline complete with the stratosphere, the … Continue reading

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It’s Summertime!

It’s Summertime

We’ve had some big changes around our house recently! We decided to purchase a new furnace and central air conditioning system. Our old one was nearing the 30-year-old mark and we decided to go for it before we started having tons of problems with the equipment.

The old furnace

 

 

 

We’ve lived in our two-story home in a “country-city” location now for over sixteen years. What that means to me is that we live in a town with sidewalks and near to our small town amenities, but we have space and we are not right on top of our neighbors.  Someday I think I would enjoy being more in the country with a single story home, but for now, this is home.

The Old Way

During that sixteen years, we have only had access to window air conditioners. Trust me that I mean this is the most grateful and positive way! That being said, they are noisy and with our old wiring, we were only able to run one unit at a time. Some crazy thing with the upstairs bedroom and the kitchen on the opposite side of the house on the same breaker. Alas, that is a problem for another day! 🙂 The room you were blissfully sleeping in would be nice and comfortable, but you are greeted by a blast of hot air when you open the bedroom door and the hallway is still ninety degrees.

We’ve gotten used to having to batten down the hatches whenever we would leave for the day in case it would rain. Coming home late at night to a steamy, hot,  house that had been closed up all day. Cue in the time needed to get the bedroom to a tolerable temperature to get to sleep. Torture? No. Irritating? Yes. Livable? Absolutely!

New Things

So now we have had a great contractor install our new furnace and central air. The utility room is right off our kitchen and we emptied most of it to prepare for the installation. After he was finished installing it, including a cool UV light thing that is supposed to be great for allergies to dust and pollen. Woohoo! Totally excited about that!

Side view of the new furnace and central air unit

Anyway, I decided to empty out the rest of the room on the floor and walls so that I could repaint the floor. According to the paint can, it was last done in 2005. So it held up pretty well for 12 years of wear and tear. Everything except the washer, dryer, and freezer were moved out into the garage and the floor is now sporting a pretty new coat of off-white paint! Sigh. If it could only stay this uncluttered and pretty looking!

Freshly painted floors

My plan was to paint the walls a pretty, bright blue color that I purchased at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store last summer. Rainy weather has derailed that plan since the floor isn’t quite dry and I don’t want to mess it up. A few more days of stuff everywhere and we’ll be back to “normal”. Ha ha. Life is exciting waiting for paint to dry.

The hard Stuff

Now we have to take a hard look at all our “stuff” and decide what needs to stay and what can just be donated or tossed. That’s never much fun. I feel like I should make a box of “stuff I might need one day” so that whenever I need that obscure little tool, screw, what’sit, I’ll know exactly where to find it. Anyone else have stuff like that?

Then the task of assigning permanent places to the things we keep. Jigsaw puzzle work in life-size. I always think I will be so organized when I’m doing this. Truly, I start out that way. Then instead of quitting for the day, I get to hour 20 and I just squish it in somewhere cause I don’t care anymore. You’d think knowing this about myself going in would help. Nah. It’s just a life-size definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

Bingo!

Enjoy the beginning of summer! Maybe if we start early on these projects we’ll have more of the summer to play?

New furnace and Central air

New Brigher paint color

 

 

Posted in Happiness, Home Improvement | 2 Comments

Why Does Change Hurt?

Why does change hurt?

So I have heard plenty of cliches for why change hurts like “no pain no gain”, “growing pains” etc. These just leave me wondering if anyone really gets it.

I began to think about planting seeds in a garden. There is a lot of preparation to get the soil ready. The placement of the seeds needs to be determined. How much sun and water will it need to grow?

In the waiting

Once that is taken care of we wait.

Underneath the soil that is where the real action begins. The seed has been watered and placed in the proper soil.

A short time later, the seed’s shell bursts open underneath the soil for the newly formed seedling to begin to grow. In retrospect, it must take a lot of force for that shell to explode open to allow the new growth to come out. It’s almost “violent” if you ponder it.

And we’re still waiting

Then as the seedling is watered it continues to grow. Pushing hard up through the heavy soil towards the surface. Up on the surface, nothing has changed. It might look as though nothing will ever happen. Maybe the sower is even discouraged. Possibly they think the seed will never grow.

However, as time goes by and the proper amount of water and temperatures are provided, that little seedling is still pushing and striving to grow. It is striving to break through the surface!

At Last

Then one day, the sower looks and a brand new tiny plant has pushed through the surface. That tiny plant is growing up towards the sun.

Danger awaits the tiny seedling. Animals love to eat the tender leaves of young plants. Hopefully, this plant will persevere and grow to produce fruit.

It has to be continually watered and even once the animals that would like to eat it are kept away the plant is still in danger.

Even though the plant is doing all it is supposed to do to grow and produce fruit it still has one more enemy.

Keep moving

Weeds! Weeds will grow up alongside our changing and growing plant and move closer and closer until one day they have choked the life out of the beautiful little plant if the sower does not remove them.

If the sower has removed the weeds, watered the plant and kept the animals and insects away it will produce fruit of its own kind. Green bean seeds grow green beans.

So, I think the reason why change hurts is because there are many steps in the process. Each one of those steps has a new danger or problem with it. Most of the time, the danger or problem is unknown to anyone else’s eye.

Stand steadfast during your times of change. If you take the time to prepare yourself for the pitfalls that lie ahead, recognize that the process is slow, and have a friend to help shoo away animals and pull the weeds with you, it will happen!

Stay strong and remember that God who walks beside you will never leave you.

 

 

Posted in Family, Happiness, Perspective | Leave a comment

Best Foot Forward

The Inspiration      

You may not have everything you want, but somewhere out there, someone is wishing for exactly what you have.

By now, it’s probably clear that I love sayings and metaphors. For your own safety, don’t get me started on old wive’s tales! Anyway, recently I read a quote similar to the one above.

It has made me think about my life. I have much to be grateful for!

Start at the beginning

I began to start taking better care of myself and I also began to walk my dog, Lily. The exercise is good for both of us. The first week was relaxed and mild. Then the next week I did better. We walked on four different days and reached 12.2 miles. I was super proud of myself. Lily was thrilled. She comes back and crashes on the floor and sleeps for hours but she is happy. Whenever I walk past the cupboard where her harness and leash are stored, she gets super excited so I know I haven’t worn her out yet.

In the fitness world, walking your dog a few days a week is hardly an accomplishment. However, in my world, it’s a beginning! Nothing has ever been accomplished without a beginning. 

Consequently, on days when it is not pouring rain, I plan to walk. Last week one day we did get caught in the rain. Not such a big deal to me, but Lily was not impressed! Today the weather has been partly to mostly crappy, dreary and ugly.

Tomorrow we walk! Can you picture the sheriff of an old wild west town, pushing back his stetson hat with his pistol and wiping the dust from his face with his other hand? Good gravy, my mind will wander off!

Best foot forward

Today, I am trying to be thankful for the small things. My feet do what I tell them. I don’t have pain or blisters. I am able to stand. These legs are strong enough to walk and go as far as I decide to go. Hip sockets function the way they should, without pain! My lower back is good. The excess weight I carry around my middle is my albatross, but this particular problem area is not exclusive to me. With more effort, I hope to become less buoyant this summer, and less attached to my spare tire!

My arms and shoulders are strong. Hands that are pain-free and able to grip the leash firmly. My voice is strong to be able to give commands and praise to my four-legged walking companion. Lastly, my brain and senses are functioning well and alert me to dangers, pretty flowers, and remind me how to get back home. I am thankful to have these things that others wish they had.

With more effort, I hope to become less buoyant this summer, and less attached to my spare tire! My arms and shoulders are strong. Hands that are pain-free and able to grip the leash firmly. Hands that are learning to put down the Mountain Dew and walk away. My voice is strong to be able to give commands and praise to my four-legged walking companion. A little bit of patience to give her a chance to smell all the interesting things along the way.

Lastly, my brain and senses are functioning well and alert me to dangers, pretty flowers, and remind me how to get back home. I am thankful.

Thankful

I am thankful that there isn’t really a feasible way to walk a 40ish pound dog and eat an ice cream cone at the same time. The road the ice cream place is on is really busy and would be dangerous. Ice cream aside, I am ready to move forward and turn my hope into action!

I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

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Words Will Never Break Me

Words will never break me

I’ve always been interested in the origins of sayings, idioms, and old wives tales. Where do they start and why? For instance:

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never break me.

Awareness

I have a friend with special needs child.  I have realized that I am guilty of stereotyping. I have said unkind words without meaning to be offensive. It was not uncommon for people to use the word retard when I was growing up.

One day, my friend was talking and she explained why the use of that word cuts to the core. She explained that retard never has a positive connotation. That word is always a put-down or an insult. It never occurred to me until then that I was guilty of tearing down people who have never wronged me. People who have never dreamed of hurting another person. I felt ashamed. I want to wash my mouth out with soap to get rid of the awful ugly taint the word had left.

Reality Check

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know her daughter much better since then and I have seen the world differently. She is a strong person. Heads off to work, she does all the things that I do back at home and yet she has a very different attitude. She is cheerful and happy to do the tasks in front of her. She owns what she does. Consequently, she gives her all to whatever she is doing. I am trying to be more like her.

She makes me laugh. She is convinced that I am twenty-nine years old and well, what’s the point of correcting that? We were on a road trip and her mother and I were trading off driving. I had only been driving a few minutes when she announced it was time for us to switch. I asked her why and she said I was a bad driver.  Ha Ha. In reality, she was just a little nervous because it was a new experience.

We met many people along the way. Some people were rude, most were won over in a few short minutes by her smile and her joy to be alive. She is proud of her family and she will tell you why.

It hurts my heart to think that the sting of a hateful word would ever have the power to break her sweet spirit!


Check out: https://www.facebook.com/EndtheWord


“Sticks and Stones” is an English language children’s rhyme. The rhyme persuades the child victim of name-calling to ignore the taunt, to refrain from physical retaliation, and to remain calm and good-natured.It is reported[1] to have appeared in The Christian Recorder of March 1862, a publication of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where it is presented as an “old adage”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sticks_and_Stones

 

 

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Road Tar Skillet

Road Tar Skillet

Cooking is a skill that is learned over time.

I have often envied the people from long ago who cooked and baked without the aid of a recipe. A pinch of this and a pinch of that. Taste testing and stirring until the dish is finished. When I was younger, many of my cooking and baking fiascos were attributed to sheer stubbornness. Who needs a recipe? Apparently, I do!

The Garden

We had a lovely garden for several years. Beautiful, juicy red tomatoes. Yummy green beans. Leaf lettuce was readily available for salads. Nutrient-rich sugar snap peas. It was amazing and very bountiful for such a small space. We even had a few ears of sweet corn.

One day I decided to make a skillet supper similar to hamburger helper.  It smelled yummy and we were getting hungrier by the moment. I used fresh tomatoes and so the sauce was very pink in color. In my infinite wisdom, I thought that my boys would turn their cute little noses up in disgust at a pink meal. Therefore, I got the idea to add black food coloring to the mixture.

The Problem

Little did I know that adding black food coloring would have a different result than the one I had envisioned. In my mind, it would produce a warm, creamy gravy look. It did not. It produced an unnatural look to each item in the skillet. The corn stood out like gravel. The tomatoes took on a deathly pallor. What had been appetizing two seconds prior was suddenly ghastly and un-appetizing.

I thought maybe if we all sat on the living room floor and ate supper by the pale light of the television, it would help. My boys were young. Elementary school aged. I thought maybe they wouldn’t notice if we ate somewhere different. We tried turning off the television and eating with just the illumination of a single candle. Even that didn’t help much.

My oldest asked what it was. I told him. He looked at it and declared it Road Tar. Correcting him would have been an option if he had been wrong in his assessment. We tried closing our eyes and eating it. Nothing helped. Even though it smelled good, we could not get past the way it looked. Consequently, we dumped it into the garbage and Momma learned a lesson. Black food coloring does not help make foods other than frosting appetizing.

It would be a nice gesture if pizza places offered an “oops, I killed dinner” discount. Just saying…

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Family, Happiness, Oops | Leave a comment

A Grain of Sand

A Grain of Sand

I love the beach. The waves, the smell of the water, the sounds. Sunshine in its most glorious place. I know that we are all important to God. It says in the bible that he knows the number of hairs on our head and he knows the number of grains of sand.  One of my hobbies is genealogy. I really enjoy learning more about the people who came before me. Even if you don’t know much about your family history, rest assured that within a very short amount of time the people whom you are researching grow exponentially in number.

One of my hobbies is genealogy. I really enjoy learning more about the people who came before me. Even if you don’t know much about your family history, rest assured that within a very short amount of time the people whom you are researching grow exponentially in number. We start out with 2 parents. They each have 2 parents by the time you reach your great grandparents you are already at 15 people. Not including any of the other children of any of those people. Theoretically, it makes me think of grains of sand.

I picture the families working the land in places like Ohio. I’m sure they had some livestock and their way of living was filled with hard work.  In the same idea, I picture the lives of the families who lived in the cities. Some of them were wealthy, many others probably worked in dirty, dusty factories. Consequently, I am sure some of them lived in tenements. Crowded altogether.

A New Day, But the Same Struggles

It’s easy to gloss over the details when you are researching. People are born, they get married, they die. Names, dates, and places. However, when you stop and think about them as real people, they had the same struggles that we experience now. People were born with handicaps and challenges. Transportation has always been an issue. Gas money= food for the animals. (At least now we don’t have to worry about stepping in the exhaust so much!)

Struggles like keeping up the house, taking care of your family, employment, schooling, and alcohol abuse are ones we share with our ancestors.

Many who were sick and suffering could not get the medicines they needed. Sadly, that is still true today because of the cost of health care. Unfortunately then, people died from common diseases we have cures and vaccines readily available to treat today.

Many families had babies who died prematurely, were stillborn or who died in infancy and childhood. Recently, I was able to hear a young mother talk about this issue and it really has opened my eyes to the enormity of that loss. I wonder if women were able to grieve their loss, or if they were just expected to move on and not talk about it. I found a strange custom while doing this research. In some cultures, it is common to name a child after the father. Sometimes, if these children died in infancy, the families would then name the next child the same thing. Seems a little creepy to me. It also causes confusion to the person who is researching that family 200 years later. I’m pretty sure they weren’t thinking about that.

My Discovery

While doing research, I recently discovered a relative with historical significance and it really affected me. His name was James Finely Bowers. He was born in Belmont, Ohio near the West Virginia border in 1827. He married Barbara in Athens, Ohio. They had 6 children. He entered into the 73rd Ohio Infantry on November 23, 1861. At the time, his oldest daughter was 11 years old and his youngest son was 1 year old. He was a farmer. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for him to pack up and leave to fight in the war between the states with such a young family. Besides, that I cannot imagine how difficult life must have been for Barbara to be left to keep the home fires burning with so many young children. 

Surely, James was not able to take a time of R&R and come back to visit his family during the war. That being said, the last time that his children would have seen him would have been when he left for war. Unfortunately, he lost his life on July 3rd, 1863 at the battle of Gettysburg.

“Nothing noteworthy then occurred until it entered upon the Gettysburg campaign. The regiment, with its brigade, held the line in front of Cemetery hill and was almost incessantly engaged on the ground in its front, its losses amounting to 143 officers and men out of about 300.” Source: The Union Army, vol. 2

If you would like to know more about him or his regiment, I have included more information below.

We all make our mark in this world and like the wind cause ripples in the dunes made up by tiny individual grains of sand. 

Psalm 139…17How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.

http://biblehub.com/psalms/139-18.htm

Name: James F Bowers
Age at Enlistment: 34
Enlistment Date: 2 Nov 1861
Rank at enlistment: Private
State Served: Ohio
Survived the War?: No
Service Record: Enlisted in Company H, Ohio 73rd Infantry Regiment on 30 Dec 1861.Mustered out on 03 Jul 1863 at Gettysburg, PA.
Birth Date: abt 1827
Sources: Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of OhioThese Honored Dead: The Union Casualties at GettysburgRoll of Honor of Ohio Soldiers

 

Regiment: 73rd Infantry Regiment Ohio
Date of Organization: 1 Dec 1861
Muster Date: 20 Jul 1865
Regiment State: Ohio
Regiment Type: Infantry
Regiment Number: 73rd
Officers Killed or Mortally Wounded: 4
Officers Died of Disease or Accident: 1
Enlisted Killed or Mortally Wounded: 167
Enlisted Died of Disease or Accident: 149
Battles: 18 Apr 1862 at Williamsville, WV.
25 Apr 1862 at Williamsville, WV.
26 Apr 1862 at Williamsville, WV.
27 Apr 1862 at Williamsville, WV.
2 May 1862 at Williamsville, WV.6 May 1862 at McDowell, VA.
8 May 1862 at McDowell, VA.
9 May 1862 at McDowell, VA.
8 Jun 1862 at Cross Keys, VA.
30 Aug 1862 at 2nd Bull Run, VA.
1 Sep 1862 at Fairfax, VA.
15 Sep 1862 at Harper’s Ferry, WV.
3 May 1863 at Chancellorsville, VA.
2 Jul 1863 at Gettysburg, PA.
3 Jul 1863 at Gettysburg, PA.
4 Jul 1863 at Gettysburg, PA.
21 Jul 1863 at On The March.
22 Aug 1863 at Greenwich, VA.
22 Aug 1863 at Bristoe Station, VA.
19 Sep 1863 at Chickamauga, GA.
20 Sep 1863.
28 Oct 1863 at Raccoon Ridge, TN.
29 Oct 1863 at Lookout Valley, TN.
15 Apr 1864 at New Hope Church, GA.
14 May 1864 at Resaca, GA.
15 May 1864 at Resaca, GA.
19 May 1864 at Cassville, GA.
25 May 1864 at New Hope Church, GA.
25 May 1864 at Dallas, GA.
26 May 1864 at Dallas, GA.
30 May 1864.
19 Jun 1864 at Kenesaw Mountain, GA.
20 Jun 1864 at Kenesaw Mountain, GA.
22 Jun 1864 at Kenesaw Mountain, GA.
30 Jun 1864 at Kenesaw Mountain, GA.
20 Jul 1864 at Peach Tree Creek, GA.
5 Aug 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
10 Aug 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
13 Aug 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
15 Aug 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
20 Aug 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
25 Aug 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
9 Dec 1864 at Savannah, GA.
28 Dec 1864.
15 Mar 1865 at Averysboro, NC.
16 Mar 1865 at Goldsboro, NC.
16 Mar 1865 at Averysboro, NC.
19 Mar 1865 at Bentonville, NC.
25 Mar 1865 at Goldsboro, NC.
1 Apr 1865 at Goldsboro, NC.
Regiment Histor OHIO SEVENTY-THIRD INFANTRY (Three Years)
Seventy-third Infantry. – Col., Orland Smith; Lieut.-Cols.Jacob Hyer, Richard Long, Samuel H. Hurst; Maj., Thomas W.  Higgins. This regiment was organized at Chillicothe, Dec. 30,1861, to serve for three years. It remained in camp perfecting its drill until Jan. 24, 1862, when it moved via Parkersburg to Grafton and Fetterman, W. Va, and thence a few days later to New creek. In the spirited engagement at McDowell in May the regiment,was engaged but met with a slight loss. In June engaged,in the battle of Cross Keys and lost 8 men killed and wounded. In August the command took up its line of march for Culpeper and it arrived in time to relieve Gen. Banks’ corps on the battlefield of Cedar mountain. Passing through Culpeper, the regiment crossed the Rappahannock at White Sulphur springs, moved down the river to Rappahannock Station, and thence up to Freeman’s ford, where it engaged the enemy , thence back to White Sulphur springs and Waterloo to prevent the enemy from crossing. Passing through Warrenton, New Baltimore and Gainesville, the regiment reached the battle ground of Bull Run and in the second battle there acted a prominent part, the gallantry of the brigade of which it was a part saving the army from utter rout. The loss of the regiment was very severe-out of 310 men present for duty, 144 were killed or wounded and
20 captured. In the Chancellorsville campaign it formed part of the column which turned the left of Lee’s army, crossing the
Rappahannock at Kelly’s ford and the Rapidan at Germanna. Nothing noteworthy then occurred until it entered upon the                                   Gettysburg campaign. The regiment, with its brigade, held the line in front of Cemetery hill and was almost incessantly en-
gaged on the ground in its front, its losses amounting to 143 officers and men out of about 300. After Lee’s retreat over the Potomac the regiment crossed the river with the rest of the army and finally went into camp at Bristoe Station, where it remained until transferred to the Army of the Cumberland. In the fight in Lookout Valley the conduct of the regiment called forth praise and especial notice, Gen. Grant, in his official dispatches, naming it “one of the most daring feats of arms of the war.” In this action the regiment lost 65 men and officers
out of 200. Encamping near the scene of its brilliant exploit, the regiment was occupied by picket duty and building earthworks until Nov. 22, when it crossed the river and was engaged in the battle of Missionary ridge. At the end of the year it veteranized and was furloughed home, then returned to its old camping ground in Lookout valley. In May it moved with the corps through Snake Creek gap, confronted the enemy at Resaca and it was highly complimented by its brigade and division commanders for brilliant conduct in this action. A severe battle
followed near New Hope Church, in which, though badly exposed and suffering severely every moment, the regiment stood firm
and fought till nightfall when it was relieved, having suffered a loss of 3 officers and 72 men killed and wounded. Pine Moun-
tain, then the railroad with Acworth and Allatoona, then Lost mountain were gained; and the army confronted the enemy
strongly upon Kennesaw mountain and around Marietta. On July 20 the regiment reached Peachtree creek and in the engagement
that followed there lost 18 men. During the month which followed it was constantly in the front line of works, under fire
day and night, and continually at work skirmishing and fortifying, each day losing one or more killed or wounded. At length
Atlanta was evacuated. In the campaign the 73d had lost 210 men and 8 officers out of less than 350; had been repeatedly
engaged with the enemy, and had never retreated before him.It now encamped near the city, recruiting and working upon the de-
fenses until it started with Sherman on his “march to the sea.”Up through the Carolinas, at the battle of Averasboro, N. C.,
in which the regiment lost 15 men wounded, and then came Bentonville, the last battle of the war, in which it lost 5 men
killed and 25 wounded. The regiment was mustered out on July 20, 1865.
Source: The Union Army, vol. 2
Find Soldiers in this Regiment: U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles

 

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Is it a wish or a promise?

Is it a wish or a promise?

Don’t worry…this is not an infomercial

I have nothing to sell you. No promise that I have no magic potion that will help you for $19.95 + shipping and handling. I won’t even double your order for just a separate shipping and handling fee. Truly, I wish it was that simple!

Truly, I wish it was that simple!

Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution? Did you promise yourself that you would eat healthier, lose or gain weight, go to the gym regularly, quit some bad habit, or something equally heroic? I have. I can’t even tell you how many times I have missed the mark. I’ve even found myself deciding to make a New Week resolution. Don’t jump on that bandwagon. I found it was just a quicker route to epic fail!

How to tell the difference

It has occurred to me that I have always WISHED for my New Year’s Resolutions. I wished the problem to be settled. The reality is there was action necessary on my part to make that wish come true. I lacked motivation. As a result, my wish never came to be. Basically, a wish is just a day dream. It’s a nice thing. By itself, it won’t accomplish my goals.

A promise is by definition a declaration that something will (or will not) be done or given. Seems like I never took the step to promise myself that I would be more conscious of what I am eating and when. I did not promise myself that I would buy less junk food (or gasp!-None). In conclusion, I am going to have a do-over! Tomorrow is a new day and the best I can hope for is to promise myself to do a little better than yesterday.

A few reflections:

  • I wish my house were neater
  • I promise to throw away junk mail today
  • I wish I was a more patient wife, mom, grandma, friend
  • I promise to listen more than speak
  • I wish I could train myself to use only nice words
  • See above 🙂
  • I wish I would quit jumping to conclusions (although it’s the only exercise I get some days)
  • I promise to talk to God first. 
  • I wish the people I loved always felt loved by me
  • I promise to make an effort to let them know in small and big ways whenever I can
 
8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
http://www.biblestudytools.com/deuteronomy/31-8.html

 

Wish- verb (used with object)

  1. to want; desire; long for (usually followed by an infinitive or a clause)
  2. to desire (a person or thing) to be (as specified): to wish the problem settled.

Promise-noun

  1. a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc., by one: unkept political promises.
  2. an express assurance on which expectation is to be based: promises that an enemy will not win.
  3. something that has the effect of an express assurance; an indication of what may be expected.

Source http://www.dictionary.com/browse

Posted in Happiness, Perspective, scripture | 2 Comments

Super Ball Spirituality

Super Ball Spirituality

A few years ago, my boys had a fascination with super balls. In school, they were able to pick prizes for reaching reading goals. They both would come home with super balls. We had a shoe box filled with them. Daddy’s shoe box. I can’t tell you how many were in that box, but it was a fairly big collection. They varied in size from the tiny which were about ½” to the huge which were 2” in diameter.

We found them everywhere. In their pants’ pockets, in the bathtub, in their beds and once when I was driving them somewhere I stopped fast and one rolled from the backseat up to me. Their favorite thing to do with them was to climb up as high as they could get and flip the box over just to watch them fall. They liked hearing the different sounds they made as they hit the hardwood floor. In that respect, I thought they were a useful tool in their creative learning process. At least when you were in the room watching their delighted faces. When you were downstairs just below the flip site it sounded like a herd of tiny animals running across the floor.

The Downside

The super balls began to annoy me.  One morning when they were both at school,  I found the puppy happily chewing on something on the living room floor. To my dismay, she had gotten ahold of one of the bigger super balls and had succeeded in chewing it into tiny bits. I was angry because I had warned them about leaving their stuff lay around. So I got down on my hands and knees and began to talk to the pile of rubber bits.

“That’s all we need in the backyard….bouncing poo”

“Oh, they are in so much trouble…”

“That’s it. No more super balls in THIS house”

Another reason why I am not a brain surgeon

I stormed into the kitchen with my handful of trash. Wisdom would have said to gently set them on the top of the garbage. However,  I gathered up the energy of an NBA player and slammed it into the top of the already full garbage can. At this point, I guess I should divulge to you why there are more reasons than one that I am not a rocket scientist or brain surgeon. Ha-ha.

In my anger,  it did not occur to me that each and every one of those chewed bits was a miniature super ball. To my shock, I suddenly had hundreds of tiny super balls flinging themselves all over my kitchen. They bounced off the wall behind the garbage can, me, and the ceiling fan in the kitchen.

Suddenly the “mess” on the living room floor became a much smaller problem. I had bouncy ball parts all over my kitchen, dining room and even pieces back in the living room and laundry area! It literally took me hours. Maybe days, until I found all the places where those little particles bounced. We found them under our microwave oven, in our shoes by the back door. It was crazy.

The Lesson

As a result, the Lord revealed to me that our careless words are like those little bouncy ball bits. We may say something slightly hurtful, sarcastic or mean but we don’t think much of it. We don’t realize how our words just keep bouncing around everyone we speak with. For me, this is especially true about how I speak with those I love the most. Familiarity breeds contempt. That’s how the saying goes and I think it’s true that we allow those with whom we have the most contact and those who know us the best to get under our skin. My family is the brunt of my frustrations so much more often than I’d like to admit. Sometimes it’s me just having a moment and I choose not to filter my words or tone, and sometimes it’s them. They know the buttons to push to make Mom come unglued!

Bouncing

The words are like all those different sized bouncy balls. The big ones, I imagine, are like the meltdown words.  The smaller ones for the minor infractions. The really tiny bits are more like the times we say things to our kids like, “You are being lazy. “  We don’t truly mean it as a character flaw. Maybe we’re just trying to motivate them to get moving on a task. The funny thing is, maybe they hear that as a confirmation of a flaw and their spirits sag.

Finally, be aware that your words are bouncing. And once you release them, you can’t ever totally take them back. Not even when you apologize to someone for speaking out of turn. Consequently, once they’ve heard and internalized your words they will have that on “permanent record”. Maybe when you’ve asked for forgiveness they won’t associate the hurt with you, but the enemy does have a way of reminding us. He whispers in our ears things that have hurt us in the past. There is no condemnation for those in Christ and we need to remember that those whispers are his weapon. We just need to take a moment and quit loading the gun for him!

For more information about superballs:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Ball

 

 

Posted in Children, Family, Happiness, Perspective, scripture, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Be Careful What You Wish For

Be careful what you wish for!

I was watching one of those shows today that has a buyer looking at new homes. I’m not really sure why I like watching them so much. I think deep down, I am just nosy. Sometimes, when we are traveling at night (no worries, not when I am driving!) I will look at the homes we pass to see what they look like inside. I’m never really interested in the people who may be there but the style used to decorate. Mine is Early American Garage Sale. It’s an eclectic style blend of heirlooms, hand-me-downs, items we’ve purchased ourselves both new and used, and a little bit of dust, dog hair and clutter threw in for good measure. I wouldn’t want any of my guests to think I’m full of myself, after all.

Time is money

One couple today was particularly interesting to me. She wanted a two-story and he wanted a ranch style home because he has bad knees. She wanted Craftsman and he wanted Modern. Do you think the realtor on the show was taking hits of whiskey from a hidden flask somewhere? Seriously! You’re set up for failure with that. One of the two of the clients is going to be either very unhappy or will settle for less than what they really want. So it seems like the people are just setting themselves up for years of ammunition for arguments. How do you even retain a realtor when you don’t know what you want? Seems like a waste of time to me.

That being said, I wish I was a fly on the wall after the realtor takes them to twenty plus listings. None of which was good enough. This one is too small, this one is too big, this on is just not right.  I think my head would spin around in circles, horror movie style, while I was screaming, “What is it you people want from me!” So, maybe it’s a good thing I’m not a realtor.

If these walls could talk

In Toledo every year they have tours of some of the historic homes in the Old West End. I really want to go to that this year and see inside these old, beautiful homes. They are steeped in tradition and history. I wish it were possible to put your ear to the wall and hear the stories they have to tell. Dreamy, romantic notions from days gone by.  In reality, we would hear siblings fighting, parents singing lullabies, sweet nothings whispered on porches from young lovers, prayers at bedtime and mealtimes, last words of those heading on to their eternal reward. Beginnings and endings. The full circle of life.

Wish Granted

Finally, I was engrossed with a young couple’s journey. They were all over the map as far as what size, style, price point, location, etc. The realtor never broke rank. The couple complained to him that they wanted something “small”. The very next house he showed them was a tiny house. 250 square feet of living space. They were super excited on the walk up to the home. Once inside they turned to each other and said simultaneously, “It’s too small!”. I think I did see the glimmer of laughter in the realtor’s eye. Fist bump, dude!

So the moral of the story is, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it!

 

 

 

Posted in Happiness, Home Improvement, Perspective, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

What can I take with me when I leave?

What can I take with me when I leave? I heard this question posed on the radio the other day while I was driving in my car. Situation: your home is on fire, your family is safely outside, you have just moments to grab a few precious items that you can carry in your arms. What to take? For me, it would definitely be photos of my family. However, there is no way I could carry all of them. My husband doesn’t call me “Gramma-razzi” for nothing. Ha ha.  I’d try to grab our birth certificates and vital paperwork. A family heirloom or two. The genealogy research I’m working on.  I would fail this simple test just based on the fact that I would have to do this quickly! Count in the fact that I have T-rex arms and I’m toast. Literally.

My Aunt called me. She is moving from a large two-story house to a small one level house. She had some items that she wanted me to look at and possibly take home. I am the unofficial “family historian”. I wear that title proudly, especially since the whole “Super-Model” thing never really took off.

Early 1900’s Glassware

Seems like it was time to pass on dishes from my great-great aunt. One piece was a compote dish that was used by the hostess to serve fruit. It is beautiful and has a matching lid. Clear glass and very heavy. It was a wedding gift in 1907. I’m amazed to think it is 110 years old. I daydream and wonder what stories this piece of glass would tell if it could. I have it proudly displayed on my kitchen table with candy. The dish better not tell stories about that.

Another piece was a highly decorated set of serving dishes with brightly colored flowers on them with gold trim around the wavy edges. This dish was called a “Strawberry set” and the main bowl would be filled with berries at a dinner party. The guests would then eat from the smaller bowls. It sounds so grand and fancy. Consequently, I may rethink my “I’m the hostess with the most-ess”  banter since I entertain with paper plates and plastic silverware! I wonder what great-great Aunt Aletha would think of that?

Most noteworthy, the difference between hand-cut glass and pressed glass is that the designs on the pressed glass edges are not sharp. I didn’t know that and I am excited to learn new things. And when a question like that comes up on Jeopardy, I’m ready! So, I was enthralled with two very delicate hand-cut glass bud vases. The glass is very thin and fragile.

Therefore, it seems that Great-great Aunt Aletha received amazing gifts for her wedding. As a result, it makes me wonder how fancy the wedding itself must have been!

Handmade Beauty

Imagine a  handmade inlaid wood lamp and table.  It has many layers and designs with subtle variations in the wood color. My paternal great uncle crafted these items in the 1950’s. He was from Scotland. The artistry is just incredible. So much detail and love went into their creation. Craftsmanship beyond my imagination. I pray that a disaster never strikes them down, especially while they reside in my home.

Dinner Parties and Days Gone By

Furthermore, Noritake China was synonymous with class and elegance. Dinner parties demanded fine china. Married couples picked out “good dishes” in their wedding registries. Fine china told you that you are a special guest. (Because I serve my guests on the finest quality paper plates I can afford, with the prettiest patterns available at Sam’s Club, I hope my guests realize how important they are to me!) Maybe one day I will get out all of the Noritake China and have a big party. We’ll eat from the lovely gold rimmed ivory plates with pink and purple flowers. Sip only the finest beverages from the lead crystal stemware.  We will be elegant. Seems like the biggest problem I will have that day is deciding which pizza toppings go best on Noritake China.

Finally, look around you. Tell the people you love that they are special. Give compliments (they’re complimentary). Praise your children for the small things. Thank the people you interact with for their service. Smile. Eat off the good dishes. Because in the end, what can I take with me? Nothing. In the event of a fire, there’s no way we can ever gather all the stuff we’d want to save. Consequently, if you could save everything that is meaningful to you I believe your insurance company will have a few questions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Family, Happiness, Perspective | 16 Comments

Happy Anniversary, you crazy kids!

She was nervous.  The sanctuary of the church was filled with hushed voices. The organist began to play the wedding march. Her knees and hands were shaking as she took her father’s arm and slowly walked down the long aisle. She was breathing with fluttery little butterflies inside. Her long white dress rustled as she walked and all around she could see the large gathering of family and friends.

The minister asked, “Who is giving this woman to this man?”

She could hear the deep rumble and slight cracking of her father’s voice when he answered, “Her Mother and I.”

Her father released her arm and sat down with her mother in the front pew. She was the oldest, and the first of their children to be married.

She faced her groom. He half-smiled and fidgeted slightly. There were so many people watching their every move. Breathe. Somehow the words of the minister both filled the room and bounced over her head.

They repeated their vows to each other, her voice barely above a whisper. His voice quieter than she’d ever heard it,  filled with emotions.

Suddenly, the room erupted in joyous celebration as the minister announced them husband and wife and proclaimed that he could kiss the bride! He carefully lifted the veil from her face and sweetly kissed her.

The organist skillfully played as they walked back down the aisle. Hand in Hand. Their faces glowing with joy and excitement. Two crazy kids embarking the journey of their lifetime.

~~~

Fast forward fifty years. She makes them breakfast and they sit down together to eat. She hands him his medicines. He protests, but takes them anyway. They discuss what they will be doing that day. She tells him that he needs to be getting ready for the party by 11am so they will have plenty of time to help their children get the banquet hall set up. They have tables to decorate and food to set out. Beverages to prepare and all sorts of last minute things to do.

How on earth did fifty years go by so quickly, she wonders.

A lifetime of memories shared.

Babies born. Camping trips. Road trips. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Weddings. Grandchildren. Vacations. Classic car meets and conventions. Motorcycles. Car Accidents. Motorcycle accidents. Buying a home. Losing a job. Retirement. Death of family members. Medical crisis.

~~~

Congratulations you crazy kids!

    

    

Happy  50th Anniversary to you!

Posted in Children, Family, Happiness, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment