Needed vs Wanted

A long, long time ago, somewhere in the middle of my marriage, my husband said, “I don’t need you. I want you, but I don’t need you.”

I will never forget how that made me feel. Those words cut through my heart like a knife. They took my breath away and made me feel weak.

Being needed gives me purpose. Being wanted gives me everything else.

I am a very capable woman although I do have a weak, fragile side. But being needed is a huge part of who I am. I want to be needed. To say you don’t need me is almost like saying you don’t love me.

Being wanted is wonderful. That’s where the beautiful part of a relationship lies. It is that special, intimate part of marriage or the closeness of a friendship.

To complete my personal circle of life, I need to be wanted and needed. That gives my life meaning and purpose. And I’m perfectly fine with desiring both in my life. It’s who I am.

I hope your day is good. Mine is. ♥️

Andi

“Gama Fixed It”

This morning my two year old grandson was holding his thumb with his other hand and almost in tears. I asked him what was wrong. He said his thumb hurt. I examined it and didn’t see anything that would explain his pain. I asked if I could kiss it. And he said yes. So I did. I asked if it felt better and he said yes again. His sister came over to check out his thumb but he didn’t let her. He simply said, “Gama fixed it.”

Oh, how I wish I could fix many things. Try as I might, I fail…often. But at least I try. I don’t want to be a hero. I just want to take away pain and hardship.

There comes a time though when I have to hang up my cape and lay all the problems out before Jesus. I am getting better at letting go. Maybe because I’m old and tired.

I went shopping tonight before heading home after work. I ran into someone I haven’t seen for a year. As we talked he kept looking at my hair. Finally he just came out and said, “You changed the color of your hair.”

“No, it’s been a very hard year. It’s turning all on its own.”

This is the second time in a week that someone has mentioned my grey hair. I think I am tired. And maybe there’s a little wisdom in this grey head of mine. I realize I cannot fix everything. For the most part, I’ll stick to kissing boo-boos.

I hope your day is good and if you can fix a boo-boo simply by kissing it, you are indeed blessed. ♥️

Andi

Answered Prayer, Part 2

Sometimes answered prayer is lying at the feet of someone else’s tragedy. That’s a hard realization. But I was prepared to step in to nurture the wounds and love broken hearts. I have been shown my purpose.

When your prayers are answered, handle them with the greatest of care. Be ever so thankful for God’s love and compassion.

Things aren’t always what they seem. And I’m glad I cannot see into the future. Be patient with prayer and answers. God is in control and knows exactly what you need and when you need it. Trust Him.

Have a blessed new week. ♥️

Andi

Answered Prayer

An important thing to remember is that God doesn’t work on our timeline…unless it’s HIS timeline. He will always be better at seeing the whole picture than we are.

We tend to be selfish, shallow, and impatient. But God doesn’t give in when He knows the timing isn’t right. We have much to learn during the wait-time. I know this firsthand.

Remember what you prayed for days or even months ago? All of a sudden it’s there staring you in the face looking totally different from what you thought you were praying for. Be grateful. If your prayer hasn’t transpired after a long wait time, you can perhaps understand why it hasn’t. Maybe the answer is no, this isn’t good for you.

God’s wisdom is greater than ours.

I have prayed for many things as you know from my blog. I have struggled with not understanding why my prayers weren’t answered…on my time. After all, my timing seemed like perfect timing to me. Little did I know was that I was being prepared for when they are answered. Now I am receiving an avalanche of answered prayer in ways I never imagined. With answers are challenges but things make sense now. And I truly am grateful.

As my long-awaited prayers are being answered, more prayer is petitioned. I will always need Jesus.

I thank God for my place in life and for His trust in me to handle all the prayer He has recently answered. I may not be able to write as often as I have been as my time is divided now between beautiful things.

Patience is a virtue.

Praising God today and everyday for His love and wisdom. And answered prayer. ♥️

Andi

Photo: Cocoa Beach, FL, October 13, 2021

Life

Life can change in a heartbeat.

Or with that next phone call.

It can stop on a dime.

Life isn’t consistent.

Nor is it fair.

We live in an imperfect world where selfishness rules the land.

These are tumultuous days both publicly and privately. Only with God’s help and direction can we accomplish the tasks set before us.

Pray without ceasing. Ask God to strengthen our homes; the very foundation of the world. We desperately need Jesus. ♥️

Andi

Photo: tumultuous waves, October 13, 2021

Humility, Part 2

Humility is needed in all areas of our life. But I guess when I think of humility I think of our relationship with God. Since God should be first and foremost in our life this is where my focus is.

Before I continue please know that my friend referenced in this post is one of the most important and influential people in my life. And I love him dearly. My intention is not to run him down. I have nothing but the utmost respect for him. This is a spiritual lesson on handling sensitive biblical matters of the heart in love, with humility, and in obligation.

I may have lost my friend because we didn’t see eye-to-eye on a spiritual matter. It began with me sharing a situation concerning forgiveness. It ended with that phone call and a couple of texts shortly thereafter. Basically he believed I was wrong and he was right and for some reason he said he was not going to discuss it with me. Then it was just over. Short, but far from sweet.

His reaction was unexpected. He became defensive with no allowance for discussion or further bible studies. It was just done. I’m not going to discuss it with you is the very opposite of humility. It hurt me terribly.

I am not angry with him although I disagree with how he handled the situation. I do feel dazed from my lack of understanding of what exactly happened between the best of friends. I agree with him that people make Christianity harder than it’s supposed to be. But I think it’s quite possible to go the other direction as well and not do enough. Of which, he disagrees.

It’s okay to disagree. It’s not okay to shut someone out who is willing to try to understand your point of view. Humility.

According to scripture:

1) We must be able to defend what we believe.

1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…

2) We must study to know spiritual truth. (I admit that I do not study enough.)

Acts 17:11
…they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

3) We must rightly divide the word…I guess that means there is a wrong way of dividing the word.

2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Many times in my life I thought I was right. I was insensitive, brass and arrogant, only to be shown that I was wrong. I was humbled, and rightfully so. I admitted my error. What a relief though when things fit together for God’s purpose and not mine.

We humans tend to be a proud creature. Admitting we are wrong isn’t typically easy for us. But it is part of humility, and it is necessary. Accepting God’s truth over our own truth is humbling, to say the least.

My wisdom will not get a single person to heaven. Neither should I take anyone’s word as gospel unless it’s backed with scripture.

If anyone believes I am seeing scripture incorrectly, they have a god-given obligation to help me understand…especially since I have a willing heart. And I have that same obligation to do the same. God wants us to know His truth and the bible contains that truth.

I realize that this blog may not help my situation. But I think there are a couple of lessons here to be learned.

1) We need to be mindful of the souls of others.

2) We need to approach one another in the spirit of love and humility.

3) We need to rely on God’s wisdom above our own.

James 4:10
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

I am currently away on another journey and it’s a tough one. I am exhausted. But this blog has been days in the making. I wanted love to shine through the heaviness of my heart. I hope I succeeded. Prayers would be appreciated. ♥️

Andi

Humility, Part 1

Humility (noun)
1. The quality or condition of being humble.
2. The state or character of being humble; freedom from pride and arrogance; lowliness of mind; a low estimate of one’s self; self-abasement.
3. An act of submission.

I have been humbled greatly over the years with one circumstance after another. And today I stand before you clothed in humility. The last couple of days have been difficult for me.

At 60 years old, I’m still not beyond being humbled. I am not above being able to say I’m wrong when I am. I still am…a lot. I will often apologize even when I’ve done nothing wrong…just to keep peace. That’s not always a good thing but it’s who I am.

I admit I have had a haughty, prideful, arrogant spirit periodically and all through my life. Thankfully, the spirit of haughtiness isn’t around as often as it once was because I have been put in my place so many times, both publicly and privately. And after, oh….thirty or fifty times, you begin to realize you really don’t know so much.

The Bible talks extensively about humility. It’s only when we have set aside pride and arrogance that God can truly use us.

There was once a hot biblical topic that I fought against, or for…depending on how you looked at it. And I fought diligently. No one was going to convince me that I was wrong in my thinking. I made complete sense…to myself. I was happy in my little world. But it was because of pride that I didn’t want to consider anything contrary. Nor did I listen. And this went on for more than a couple of years.

Finally, an older man took me under his wing and gently taught me using scripture. I still bucked him but we would laugh about it as we went along because we were great friends. That’s what friends do. As it turns out I was basing my belief more on my personal feelings than truth, and feelings fail. That is an example of pride. It wasn’t until shortly after he passed away that it finally (FINALLY!) made sense. And I did a complete turn about with my conviction on this particular topic. It wasn’t my way after all. I finally understood it God’s way.

Just because we want something to be true doesn’t mean that it is. Perception is not truth. We can rationalize all we want in all of our “infinite” human wisdom. But that’s not reality. That’s not God’s reality nor is it how He works.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Have a great weekend. Keep love in your heart, humble yourself, and allow others to see it.♥️

Andi

MaCayla

I was introduced to Bill earlier this year by Steve, one of my best friends, and as it turns out, one of Bill’s too. It wasn’t until recently though that Bill and I have become better acquainted. I first met his lovely daughter, MaCayla, at the county fair.

On October 1st we had our last First Friday event of the year on the town square. MaCayla came with her daddy. She was a pleasant presence in our popcorn tent.

That night, a handsome young man named Josh came to the tent. It took me a second to recall that he was one of my daughter’s friends. I gave him popcorn and he stepped in front of my table to leave. As he turned to leave, MaCayla yelled hi to him. He responded hi to her and turned to leave when he looked back at her a second time. He changed his direction and went to MaCayla. He got down to her level and had a short, but sweet conversation with her. I was so impressed with this young man. And it gave MaCayla such happiness to have this special attention.

MaCayla is a hugger and so am I. She gives the best, most heartfelt hugs too. I don’t know if I will make it to Heaven. I am trying. I don’t know if you will make it there either. But when I hug MaCayla, I know for certain that I am embracing Heaven. And that alone gives me hope with an inspiration to try even harder.

Blessed are the meek and the innocent. They are gifts sent from Heaven above.

I’m grateful for people like Josh who don’t avoid situations that many find uncomfortable.

Be thankful for all the blessings in your life. And whenever you have opportunity, embrace Heaven. ♥️

Andi

The Monarch

The monarch butterflies you see today are the the fourth generation of the season. The Methuselah generation. They are heading to Mexico soon if they haven’t started their journey already.

4th generation

God amazes me. He gave to one of the most fragile of all living beings the innate ability to travel thousands of miles to a warm winter home.

The sad news is that the population of the monarch decreased by 26% of those that successfully made it to their winter home in Mexico just last year. The use of pesticides and the loss of the milkweed plant are the two largest factors in this major decline.

We should change this.

The monarch is quite remarkable. It would certainly be a tragedy to lose them permanently. They won’t be placed on the endangered species list until October 2023, as there are a great many animals on the waiting list ahead of them. I do not understand that process.

Appreciate the monarch and it’s life’s journey. When you feel you cannot go one step further, remember this fragile butterfly with its strong will to live and determination to succeed. Not only for itself but for the next generations to come.

♥️

Andi

Photo: Denae, 4th generation monarch, September 2021; last two photos are mine, probably both first generations, March 2021

When is Enough, Enough?

I sat in a parking lot for an hour and a half waiting for my daughter who was in karate class. I could have gone for a walk or something, but I didn’t. Instead, I was involved in conversations with friends that ended up burying me deep with their hardships and burdens. All on top of my own.

Life is hard for most people right now and their conversations, decisions, and life choices reflect that stress. And I am a sponge.

So my head was pounding and my spirit became weak. I felt energy leave my body. All I wanted to do was go home. To my home. To my bed.

I know the breaking point varies from person to person. I’ve teetered on that point several times. When/ where is the point when you just can’t teeter anymore?

When is enough, enough?

I could tell you my thoughts on what’s happening to the good people of this world, but instead I will tell you of our need for God Almighty. The evil of an elite society is great. But my God is greater. We need to be sitting at the feet of Jesus. My prayer tonight is that I become stronger so I have less nights like tonight. My prayers are for you too.

Today is my 75th day in a row to post. A few days I posted twice. Prior to that I posted over 40 days but had a three day lapse before this last streak of 75. That’s a lot of writing. Don’t get me wrong. It’s my passion. But the streak really means nothing to anyone but me. It’s a personal challenge, yet it is a subtle pressure. After last night I am feeling burnt out on life. I might need a break. I will see how this day progresses. I am just giving you a heads up.

Have a good day. Keep your chin up and your eyes focused on God. We need Him more than ever. ♥️

Andi

My Spirit Animal

Do you know what your spirit animal is? Do you even know what it is? I think Brainfall best describes the spirit animal. I found this definition on their website:

In many spiritual traditions and cultures such as Native American cultures, a spirit animal refers to an animal which guides a person on a journey and whose characteristics that person embodies. In more recent times, it is used as a metaphor for someone or something which is a good representation of a person.

I think I relate to so many animals it’s hard to decide which one resembles me the best.

When I think about my spirit animal, elephants first come to mind. They are family oriented. The momma’s are loving mom’s. They are protectors too. You wouldn’t want to mess with an angry momma elephant. They can be strong and mighty, or ever so gentle. Elephants have great memories. Oh, okay…um…I guess elephants are not my spirit animal.

Dolphins are sleek and graceful. They are great moms as well and brave against the threats to their family. They love being in the water. Okay, no. Dolphins won’t work for me either.

Grey wolves…awesome animals. Together, the parents raise their pups. They mate for life. Um…two divorces. It would be a discredit to these beautiful creatures to claim them as my spirit animal.

An owl with all its wisdom? No.

A sleepy sloth? Possibly. I do come from a long line of nappers. Nah…

A dog? They forgive and forget a little easier than I do sometimes. And I would get bored chasing the same toy for hours on end. Geminis have a tendency to get bored.

Okay, okay…I know what my spirit animal is. I saw it on my way home from work today. Hence, the inspiration for this blog. My spirit animal is (drum roll, please)….my spirit animal is….a fainting goat.

Yes, I believe that is correct. A fainting goat. Goats love to have fun. They can be mischievous. They are curious. They have attitudes. They are never boring. Goats are forever looking for something delicious to eat. They like to conquer hills. (I climbed my mountain, remember?) And fainting goats startle easily.

I can’t tell you how many times a day I about fall over from a startle at work. I will be intently working on a project when someone stops at my door and simply says “Andi”. I will almost jump out of my seat as my heart beats one final time. Or, I will meet someone around a corner and gasp. Maybe even jump a little then too. If I was a fainting goat, I’d spend half my work day laying on my side, stiff as a board. My boss and coworkers all know how easy it is to scare me so they now try to gently get my attention. Gotta love ‘em. Yep, my spirit animal must be a fainting goat.

Something light and maybe a little fun for your Tuesday morning coffee with me. I hope your day is awesome and that your spirit animal represents you in a good and positive way. ♥️

Andi

Photo credits: elephant, kwanzatours.com; sloth, news.com.au; fainting goat pics in order, simpleenglishnews.com, petsworld.net, whitmore.blogspot.com, quadcitydaily.com, interest.com

Why Do I Love the Sky?

I know I already posted today but really I cannot keep from posting another. Not tonight. Not when the sky is adorned such as this.

Why do I love the sky so much?

Well, it’s ever-changing. It’s mysterious. It beautiful and sometimes sinister. It’s romantic. The sun, the moon…connections of hearts.

The same sun that shone brightly today stood still in the Old Testament.

Joshua 10:12
And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day.

Maybe it’s because Jesus will be coming back in the clouds.

Revelation 1:7
Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

All I know is I love the sky. It’s filled with wonder and dreams and beauty. It cleanses our earth and waters a thirsty land.

This is my sky tonight. I just had to share it with you. Have a wonderful night. ♥️

Andi

Driving the Speed Limit

This time of the year you have to be mindful of farm equipment traveling down the roads around here. Typically, you don’t have to follow them for too long before they turn into a field or farm.

Most days I do not follow anyone on my way to work through these country roads. But once in awhile…argh.

The speed limit on country roads is 45 mph unless posted otherwise. I admit I drive a tab bit over that as long as the roads are dry and I’m not in traffic. Once in awhile though I end up behind someone who drives 10 miles below the speed limit. That doesn’t make me happy. Then we turn south onto a short road that runs past a couple of factories where the speed limit drops to 30 mph. And wouldn’t you know…98% percent of the slow drivers, you know…the ones driving 10 mph too slow on a fast road, now drive 10-15 mph above the speed limit. I don’t get it.

How we manage our speed and our attitude on the roadways is probably a good indicator of how we manage our life during rushed or stressed times. I know when I’m driving and someone continues to exhibit poor driving skills, I say really?! a lot. Like I never make dumb decisions or upset others.

In daily living, do you drive the posted speed, or do you push the limits? When the light turns yellow do you stop when you should, or do you squeeze the lemon like my brother, Dan, says. Do you use turn signals to indicate your next move or do you just surprise others by keeping things secret?

Life does have a lot of rules. Man-made rules are not always consistent, but the roadway rules help to keep us safe. God is consistent though and we need to be most mindful of His instruction.

This is the beginning of a new week. I will practice good driving skills on and off the road. Even though I am more than exhausted after this busy weekend, I intend to make this a good day. I hope yours is exceptional. ♥️

Andi

A Marked Tree

Returning from an outing, we took the back way home on a hilly, windy road…my favorite kind of road.

As we drove along, I happened to notice a tree on a front lawn was marked with a thick red ❌. The tree was unique in form, but healthy looking. It stood near the road and I wondered if that was the reason it would be taken down. That was a sad thought as I love trees.

I started thinking about marked things. And because of the current world we live in, I thought about the marking of people. Honestly, we are living in a marked society.

*We are marked by wearing masks.
*We are marked by displaying an American flag.
*We are marked by being vaccinated.
*We are marked by being unvaccinated.
*We are marked by our opinions.
*We are marked if we are a Trump supporter.
*We are marked by carrying vaccine passports.
*We are marked as Christians.
*We are marked for speaking up.
*We are marked for supporting the US Constitution.
*We are marked for being patriotic.

There’s no other way to look at it. We are a marked people.

These markings cause division and hate. Friends against friends. Employer against employee. Teachers against parents. Race against race. Party against party.

The tree I saw with the red ❌ on it appeared to be alive and well. But it was marked for a reason. To be removed. That’s what the marking of people does as well. It is the removal of something.

And that would be: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Marking a healthy tree is sad enough. Marking people is an unfathomable tragedy placed upon the human race. We need to not let this happen. It begins with us as individuals to make it stop.

On a sweeter note: it is is a most beautiful morning. The air is crisp and clear. So refreshing. The corn has been taken in. Another harvest complete. Next year’s crop will be soybeans.

Enjoy this glorious morning. Love our God with all your heart and soul. Be ever so thankful for His beloved Son, Jesus. And pray without ceasing. ♥️

Andi

A Walk in the Park

I cannot begin to tell how much I enjoy this cooler weather…and this park. Lots of good memories here with my children, our dogs, my second 5k, and my solo time of trail running. Yesterday, I parked in my usual spot under the trees at lunchtime. Typically, I eat my lunch, write, and then take a power nap before going back to the office. But not yesterday. Fall energizes me. I took my first walk of the season.

Hint of fall oranges, yellows, and reds dotted the scenery. Remember what I mentioned about an autumn sky? It’s bluer than blue. Yesterday was no exception.

If you recall I wrote about my running experience here at the nature park. It once was a gravel pit. The bottom of the pit is pretty barren and rocky, and gets very hot. It was actually hot there yesterday too. This is where the buzzards circled me on one of my runs. To me, it resembles a film location of an alien planet for a B-rated movie. Or, maybe a movie set in the 50’s or 60’s before all this new technology.

I didn’t get to walk as far as I would have liked but I stopped to take many pictures for you. Eventually, I’ll make it through the desert below and up along the ridge. But probably not on my lunch hour.

Enjoy your coffee this morning and take a little time for yourself on this Saturday! We all need a little me time. ♥️

Andi

Note to Self:Put Your Glasses On!

When I was in the third grade my eye doctor put me in glasses. I wore them for awhile and then my parents took me to another doctor. I’m not sure why. We found out that the lenses in my glasses were nothing more than window glass. I no longer wore glasses at that point. I popped the lenses out and used the frames for a science project. My dad and I attached a small lightbulb on the nose piece and wired it to a battery. Then I could read in bed. I don’t remember what grade I got but it was a good memory with my dad.

When I was 21, my eyes went weird on me during my first pregnancy. I got bifocals. But that was all wrong, again. For one, I cannot walk in bifocals. Plus, I didn’t need bifocals. I went to another doctor and got glasses for distance which I would wear once in awhile.

Then I turned 40. Everything went downhill. I really needed glasses then. My prescription was still only for distance and has remained the same. I use them mostly for driving, but just at night or on those hard-to-see days. I use readers now too and I have those glasses with the special blue light blocking lens for computer work. Three pair for three purposes…oh, and not to forget my contact lenses.

As I’m driving to work this morning I come upon a pasture of cows. I can’t help but watch them. Especially the young ones who happily run circles around their mommas. (I have a great fondness for cows.)

I am traveling along side of this fence row of pasture when I see a black cow in the distance near the fence and she appears to be in distress. Her head is bobbing up and down and slightly back and forth. She appears to be trying to get something off her face. It looks like her head is stuck in something white, like a bucket or bag of some sort.

A million things rushed through my head. I remember seeing a video where a policeman helps a skunk whose head is stuck in a jar. And I think of a bear who is stuck in a bucket. I think of a sea turtle wrapped in plastic. And in my head I’m screaming at all the people who throw trash out of their windows along the ditches, into pastures, and out to sea.

As I get closer I’m thinking about how I’m dressed for work but I have to save this cow! How do I get over that fence? Should I call work now, or after? I’m in panic mode thinking of how to save this poor girl.

Until I get up next to her and she lifts her head up out of the tall grass.

That’s when I see that her face is half white. Moo.

In my defense, it was unusual in that the white only covered her nose and halfway up to her eyes. But wow…did I feel foolish and I was all alone in my car. It’s pretty bad when you can embarrass yourself in front of yourself.

So the lesson is this:

If we don’t put our glasses on we can certainly have a pretty distorted view of life and the world around us. I’m not just talking about eyewear. I’m referring to seeing things with a clear, informed mind. Removing prejudices and judgments prior to listening, observing, and reacting. That way you can see the whole cow.

I am so glad I didn’t have to jump the fence today but I would have if she was in serious need of help.

The only restriction on my driver’s license is that my car has side mirrors. I’ve never heard of that before. But I should probably wear my glasses more often while driving…even in the daylight. 😬

Have a wonderful day and thanks for reading this post. Seventy days in a row of posting! Happy Friday! ♥️

Andi

PS Be responsible and dispose of your trash appropriately. Keep this old lady out of ditches and pastures and on the road.

Minimize the Ugliness

Life is full of situations that can teeter one way or another. We can make a bad situation worse simply by not thinking things through.

Sometimes when we see a loved one, family or friend, hurting at the hands of another, we get angry right along with them. We might talk smack about the “wrongdoer”. We might suggest actions rather hastily. We feed the hurt. Things get ugly. But ugly doesn’t solve anything nor is it conducive to healing.

I’m not saying we don’t have a right to be angry. We can be angry. But anger needs to be bridled. Anger can destroy you from the inside out if you are not careful. Use that energy positively, not for revenge.

Ephesians 4:26
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.

As hard as it is, we must minimize the ugliness by being mindful of the thoughts in our head and the words that we speak. Our actions affect all those around us. And it greatly affects the most innocent of all, the hearts of our children.

Minimize the ugliness. It’s the healthiest, most positive way to move forward.

Have an awesome second day of FALL! ♥️

Andi

It’s Here! 🍂🌾🍁

Glorious Autumn Day

Could hardly wait to get outside,
On this beautiful, beautiful day,
Sunlight golden through the trees ,
Above me circling, a bird of prey.

The sky, a most perfect blue,
An amazing moon is still awake,
He’s not wanting to miss this day,
So his precious time he decides to take.

The morning air is crisp and new,
It takes my breath away,
To see such beauty here before me,
The world to me, a grand bouquet.

So on this glorious autumn day,
Please lace my hand with yours,
And walk with me on wooded trails,
For there’s love and nature to explore.

By Andi
September 28, 2010

My favorite season is here! It’s extra special too because twenty-nine years ago, I held my daughter, Denae, in my arms, for the very first time. What a blessing. Could FALL be any better?!

It’s hard to say goodbye to summer yet so very easy to say hello to fall. I’m pretty much a sweater and flannel shirt kinda girl. Although, while most girls look quite cute in their flannel, I look like I’ve misplaced my axe.

There could never be a more romantic season either. Fall tops all seasons in my opinion. Bonfires, starry skies, blankets, and cozy movie nights at home. There’s definitely something special about that little chill in the air.

I get excited about corn mazes, hot apple cider, friends and family around a bonfire, pumpkins, watching combines bringing in the harvest, mallow dogs, scarecrows, frosty breath, and rosy cheeks.

Fall is here! And I am glad!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Denae! ♥️

Andi

Photos: internet; pathway photo is mine, September 19, 2021

Betty

March 31, 2019

It is Sunday morning and I found her lying on her side, fully dressed, and with her feet hanging off the bed as if she sat down and just plopped over. I bent down and quietly called her name and wished her a good morning. With eyes closed, she responded with a good morning and, “Where are you taking me now?”

I asked her if she wanted to come with me to hear gospel hymns and go to worship. She said she just couldn’t this morning because she didn’t feel well. The bright sunlight was coming through the window and when she finally opened her eyes, her aged face unexpectedly lit up brightly when she saw me, such as I’ve never seen before. To me it as though she was seeing an angel. Not that I am one, or would ever claim to be. But I believe the way the morning sunlight was shining from slightly above and behind me through the window it gave the essence of something holy. The golden beams shot through my long, wavy hair and the sunlight surrounded me. I felt it’s warmth against my back. Betty’s face and her smile…oh, so radiant. I saw a glow in her eyes. I wondered if this would be her lovely expression on the day she sees Jesus in all His glory. She reached up and lightly touched my hair and told me how beautiful it was. It was a moment I will never forget.

When she sat up and we both came back to earth, we talked a bit about the gospel songs she loves. Then I asked her what her favorite music was and she said country. I told her I would come back later and we’d listen to some country music together.

After lunch I was able to see her again. I found a classic country station on Pandora. I turned it on and like magic she was a young woman again. Betty was clapping her hands and tapping her feet and singing some of the words. I could just imagine her at home, wearing an apron, and dancing away in her kitchen to country tunes playing on an old AM radio.

Betty stopped clapping periodically only to tightly hold my hand in both of hers, while continuing to sing and tap her feet. In-between her singing, she’d thank me, and then thank me again, for bringing music to her.

My visit with Betty made my day. No, actually, it made a deep and lasting impression on my life. We enjoyed each other’s company for a mere twenty minutes. Sadly, I knew it would all be forgotten by her once I left the room. But it was so worth it. Worth every second.

♥️

Andi

The Magic of a Wet Forest

There’s something pretty cool about being in a woods after a good rain. The eerie silence is broken only by occasional birdsong and the gentle after-shower breeze which pushes droplets of rain off one leaf and down to another.

The wet carpet of leaves, moss, and fern give off an inviting aroma which draws you further into this wooded paradise. Magic.

I could spend the rest of my day here but the rain has started up again and sadly, work calls me back to the office. Truthfully, I’d rather be called by the hooooot of an owl, the chatter of a squirrel, or the crunch of leaves beneath my feet.

There’s just something wonderful about a forest after a gentle, cleansing shower. It’s cleansing for the soul too. ♥️

Andi

Give it to God

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? ~ Matthew 6:26

Give it to God.

We were not designed to carry the weight of our own burdens, let alone the weight of others. I have this tendency to claim your issues as my own and pack it tightly on top of my mine in my weighted backpack. You know, like those used in training. Remember, we were not even designed to carry our own.

Give it to God.

Our Creator designed all the living creatures of this earth. He takes care of their needs. They do not work the earth yet God feeds and cloths them. Do we truly understand our value to Him? He didn’t promise Heaven to the birds of the air. They were designed for the beauty of this earth. The same with all the sea creatures and land animals. Yet, God takes care of them.

Understand your value, your worth. You are precious to Him.

Continue to pray for each other. Pray for the evil that is running full throttle, near and abroad. Pray for those in leadership roles who have power to stop some of this evil. Pray without ceasing and with gratitude.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Have a blessed Sunday. ♥️

Andi

Ventura Highway

Yesterday as I drove to the other office, a 40 minute drive, it only took a split second to know which playlist I was going to listen too.

I had recently purchased one of my very favorite albums of all time. Homecoming by America.

This was the second album for America which was released in November 1972. I would have been eleven at the time, but it was definitely my go-to album when I was feeling restless or when I was in my dream mode from about 14 on up. In those days, my then best friend, Judy, and I were dreamers. Well, I still am. But we had dreams of getting on the road and taking off west. We were kinda in hippie mode. Our hearts were free spirits and we were going to explore the world together.

Our first journey was going to be the Grand Canyon. We were going to rough it. Mules would take us to the bottom and we were going to sleep under the stars. We even started making durable pillow cases out of remnant pieces of denim. Can’t be a free spirit, or a wanderer, without your pillow. I look back and smile at the memories and dreams of those two innocent, young gypsy wannabes.

This album, especially the song Ventura Highway, takes me away to many beautiful places, both in my mind and on down the road. As I drove west to work, I thought of those carefree days and of this young girl’s dreams. I watched the colorful tree line against the early morning sky. Fall has the magic touch of creating the bluest of all skies.

Ventura Highway. What a great song for a wandering heart. Even watching for “alligator lizards in the air” (cloud formations) sends me back to that same kind of peace and continues to fill my soul with dreams of what if.

I hope you have your own Ventura Highway memories that warm your heart. I have many such memories throughout my life. Pleasant moments to distract from a sometimes harsh reality.

Have a wonderful weekend. I get to wear my grandma face today as my granddaughter will be visiting. I can’t wait. ♥️

Andi

Andi’s Special

There’s a bar here in town that’s been around since 1950. My dad used to go there in the late ‘80’s when he lived in this area. Sometimes it’s quiet and sometimes it gets loud with the entertainment, and some of the craziness of the younger generation will drive us older people nuts, but mostly you can have a good time with your friends. And if you walk in without a friend, you’ll probably leave with at least one new friend. Not meaning that in an off-color way so get your mind out of the gutter. 🙂

One night I walked in and the bartender asked me what I wanted. I said, “Well, I want something strong, sweet but no pineapple, orange, or coconuty stuff.” She said, “I’ll be right back.” She returned, handed me a tall, sweaty glass, and waited for me try it. It was delicious. She said she tweaked an Alabama Slammer. It was amazing. From then on this new drink was known as the Andi’s Special.

Whenever I would go there I’d ask for it by name and they’d make it for me. A couple of my friends started asking for it as well. But the two bartenders have been replaced. So I keep the recipe on my phone which is a good thing as I want others to make it. The owner of the bar has made it the best so far. 😉

That’s all I have for today. Oh except, I wouldn’t advise drinking too many of these the night before you have to go to work. Cheers!

Have an Andi Special weekend! ♥️

Andi

A Walk to the Post Office

I love it when one of the girls in the office asks me if I’d like to get the mail. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does, I get excited. You see, I don’t drive to the post office, I walk. And today was a most perfect day to say, Why, yes, I’d love to get the mail for you.

And so I grabbed the mailbox key and headed out.

There are many things you simply don’t notice from a car window but you most certainly can on a walk to the post office.

Our town was settled in 1821 but didn’t officially become a town until forty years later in 1861. Today it is home to over 10,000 people.

The old buildings around the square have had recent face lifts and are quite charming. Their age is still quite apparent in the moldings, trimmings, and brick. Even the doors and windows still show their age and I’m thankful for that. We have a Heritage Wall with plaques of all the different events that helped shape our little community. A bank robbery by a notorious bad guy is my favorite part of the history here.

Colorful murals have been painted on some of the buildings and they are quite tastefully done. Many of the sidewalks have been replaced but you can still find broken, cracked, and uneven remnants of once-upon-a-time.

An old building on a corner is now a real estate office and their old but freshly painted iron rod fence encloses a beautiful assortment of flowers. Across the street is a restaurant/ brewery. I remember when it was the old NAPA store. I appreciate when a building is reused instead of torn down.

I moved here in 1990. And this is where I raised my kids. I have memories. The town was pretty run down when I first moved here although there was a JC Penney’s on the square along with a Sears appliance store. I wish they were still here! But the town was suffering maybe in part because a huge company was shut down in 1987 and a great many people lost their jobs or were transferred to other states. It wasn’t until about ten years ago when things took a turn for the better and grants came in to help with renovations. People once again took pride in our hometown.

After I pass the Heritage Wall, but before I get to the post office, I pause in front of the building where I worked for a florist for seven years. I see the outline on the concrete ledge that supported a long flower box that we watered everyday throughout the summer and decorated for winter. I peek in the windows and sigh a little as I remember. I think of the magic that once was. The flowers, the gifts, the special holiday events, and the customers. In the main room still stands the cooler from the 1940’s. It is big and beautiful. So many good memories! The shop had served the community for 110 years before it closed in February 2019. That was a sad day for me. For a lot of people. It’s hard not to tear up while I stand here reminiscing. One day I will write a post about that magical place.

When I get to the post office I see it’s age too in the pillars and concrete steps. The words United States Post Office etched across the top of the building are almost eligible due to the weathering of time. That old building still has character.

So many places I could write about. And I will someday.

I treasured my walk to the post office. I thought of the old, old days and also of the days not-so-old. I stopped beneath a tree planted on the corner of Vine and Washington. It’s leaves and berries already shades of fall. I felt the coolish breeze and thought how wonderful it was to be there.

Walk to the post office whenever you can. Pay attention to the little things because the little things are most often the biggest and bestest things in life. ♥️

Andi

That One Friend…

We all have one. You know…the one friend who knows the right things to say at the right time. The one who can lay it all out for you to see and no matter what it looks like you understand because it finally makes sense. Even criticism of the nastiest part of you doesn’t seem so nasty coming from that one particular friend.

They don’t shame you but shape you to be better person. Their gentle yet firm presentation makes all the difference in how it is received by you and their honesty is worth more than all the riches of this world.

That one friend…
…is a rock in your life.
…follows closer than your shadow.
…is a keeper.
…is a gift from above.

Be grateful for a friend such as this.
Be that friend. ♥️

Andi

Tools

Yesterday I did quite a lot of work at home and my body feels every bit of it today. My back, arms, and feet hurt. My hands are calloused and sore. I cleaned out my shed. Cleaned around the fire pit. Filled in holes in my yard. Cut down a huge bush and removed the root system.

I used a variety of tools throughout the day. A couple of different rakes, brooms, cutters, and shovels. It was when I was removing the root system of the bush that I realized I was making the job harder because I was not using the correct shovel. Then I realized I was using correct one incorrectly. Make it work for you popped into my head.

Make it work for you. It is the purpose and design of every tool to make your job easier. If you use it incorrectly, your job is harder, or it may not be done correctly, or even at all.

We use tools on a daily basis. Maybe even on a minute-by-minute basis. We use tools to cook, sew, for gardening, in construction, and to work on cars. The need for tools is endless.

We have also been given tools to help us on our spiritual journey. Prayer is a tool, our means of communicating with God. Jesus is our intercessor but I’m not going to refer to Him as a tool. The Bible is a tool as it is the instruction book to life and godly living. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is a tool for strength, comfort, and fellowship.

While I said earlier you need to make the tool work for you, that is the truth with most tools. But God is a bit different. We don’t make His tools work for us. We don’t make God do anything. We desire and allow His tools to work in our life.

Tools are quite handy if you use the appropriate one for the job and then use it correctly. Same with the tools for a godly life. Use them carefully and with a willing heart.

Have a great start to a great new week. Pray for our country. 🇺🇸♥️

Andi

My Girl and I

I was blessed with three beautiful and wonderfully amazing girls. Truly blessed. The truth be told I didn’t want girls. I wanted a dude ranch of boys. But wow, when my first daughter was born…well, there just are no words for the love I felt for her. Then with the next two…yes, my heart overflows.

But as time moves on so have my girls. Not that there’s any less love, no…things are just different as they have moved into adulthood. As it should.

I look forward to this weekend when all my girls will be together again, including one of my granddaughters.

But there is one girl who is kinda stuck with me even as she ages. Nyx.

I discovered just how connected we are after these past difficult weeks. Her demeanor changed. She wasn’t happy and even distanced herself from us at times. She wouldn’t eat. Playing was minimal. She hardly smiled. (Yes, dogs smile.) It was very clear that she was confused with these new intense emotions that she was picking up from me. Even though I was trying not to express these emotions outwardly dogs have this keen sense of sensing things that are internal. My daughter says that they can pick up these emotions with their sense of smell. All I can say is dogs are amazing creatures.

When I got home from the hospital after my hip replacement, Hercules was so attentive. He always knew when I needed him most and he would stay by my side. He knew when I had hard days or when I was sick. He handled those sensitive times very well. It came natural to him.

Nyx is a different dog as she has many issues of her own. Topped with mine, she didn’t know what was going on and I feel she was almost afraid. Over time as she heals herself, she will be more capable of sensing my emotions and not be afraid.

My girl and I. She’s a one person dog and I love that. Herc was all over the place trying to protect us all. Not that Nyx wouldn’t protect us, she would. I see that in her. But she just hangs out with me. She follows me everywhere in the house. If I make a move, she follows. When I am at work, she pretty much stays in one place until I get home. My daughter says she is a completely different dog when I am gone. She can’t even touch her until I return. Then Nyx will allow it. Kinda breaks my heart since I’m gone for ten hours a day.

My girl and I. Hopefully, we have many years to spend together. I can’t even imagine how hard it will be for the other if one of us passes. She’s my girl for sure. And I sure do love her.

I was talking with a friend the other day about the sedum outside around my deck and all the creatures that love that particular flower. There was even a monarch butterfly landing here and there on the blooms. This monarch is the fourth and final generation of this season that will make its long trek to Mexico. Amazing. My friend and I talked about how creative God was when He designed all of these creatures. Why did He do this? Was it because He needed a bazillion types of butterflies, insects, and flowering plants for Himself? Why did He give dogs such amazing intuition? Did He design all these for His enjoyment, or for ours? Or, perhaps, both?

I believe God gave us these as gifts. He knew we need beautiful things in our daily life. We should be grateful for all the variety, uniqueness, and specialness that is wonderfully woven into all of His creation.

Thanking God this morning for His infinite love for us. From the time of creation through all of eternity. And I thank Him for my special girl, Nyx. ♥️

Andi

What Were You Doing?

September 11, 2001.

What were you doing?

We all remember the moments of that day. The day we cried and the deafening silence that came after.

The skies were blue and quiet for three long days, and so were we as we tried to digest what we saw over and over on our television screens.

What happened that day? We will never know the absolute truth. We all have our theories and opinions. Were we attacked from the outside or from within? Maybe both, perhaps. Someone knows. And most assuredly, God does.

But the fact remains many many innocent people died at the hands of evil. And we still have our questions of why, and of how could this happen here in America.

A young New York firefighter perished that day. His wife found out two days later they were expecting their third child. She had a son and named him John after his daddy. I believe this hero was a distant cousin of mine as we bear the same unique last name. My mom wore a bracelet engraved with his name, found his mother, and they kept in touch for awhile. My mom eventually sent the bracelet to the family, a gift for the son that John didn’t know he had.

Regardless if we personally knew anyone who perished, or of the heroes who worked endlessly to search for the living buried within the ruble, a part of each of us died that day.

We must never forget the love we had for each other in the days that followed. It’s sad to think a tragedy is what it takes to unite us as a nation. We have the capability to love one another. We proved it that day and for a short while after.

9-11. A day that scarred our country forever and showed us our vulnerability. May we continue to learn from that tragedy and may it never be erased from our history.

🇺🇸

Andi