Vision

Willowfield Lavender Farm
2018

Life is like buying a perfect piece of land with a vision of a beautiful garden. The vision requires planning. The vision requires work. The vision doesn’t just happen. And if the land is left idle it is only a piece of land.

A garden requires tilling, planting, cultivating, watering, nurturing…and so does a fulfilling life.

When you have a dream, plan your strategy while doing what you need to do to survive. Work diligently to make it happen. Sacrifices will most likely need to be made.

When you find that special someone and you envision a future with that person, then cultivate it, nurture it. If you don’t, someone else will.

Don’t be discouraged if others cannot see your vision. It’s not theirs to understand or interpret.

Vision. Dreams. Goals. Planning. Action.
Live your life to the fullest.

Thank you for being here.
The coffee is always on. ♥️

Andi

i wonder

my gazebo

i walk down a wintery path
in silence i reflect
on the many lives i’ve lived
and of the many hats i’ve worn
…and i wonder
how do i feel about it all?

i look upward into a snowy sky
i enjoy the touch of snowflakes upon my lashes and upon my cheek
and for that moment, i am a little girl of nine
when my dreams of a storybook love first began
…and i wonder
how do i feel about it all?

my head spins as i travel
through the many years
of happy moments
and of the saddest of times
of now realizing the true meaning of lonely
and of knowing the true meaning of love.

sitting in my gazebo, i listen to the silence of the snow
which is broken by a skipped beat of a scarred heart
and a breath that is not mine
and i realize the fragility of the human spirit
and how that sometimes (many times)
life just isn’t fair.

i walk the wintery path toward home
and i’m met by my delightful offspring
who’ve only just begun their earthly journey
how can i teach them of love and of heartbreak
…when i wonder
how do i feel about it all?

By Andi
January 19, 2013

I wrote this poem several years ago. I continue to wonder about love that I’ve had…and lost. And whether that void will ever be filled. I reflect on the lessons I’ve been taught through the years. I cherish the young girl inside me who is still very much alive…who still dreams wonderful dreams. And I wonder if she will ever grow up. Or if she even needs to.

I wondered what to write tonight. 😬
I hope you enjoyed this poem. I write poetry for myself so therefore, I understand them. Posting them publicly is stepping out of my comfort zone. It’s my hope that you can relate to some of what I write. ♥️

Thank you for coming by again. I love having you here. It’s always a perfect time for coffee with friends. ☕️

Andi

Forever That Person

“Forever that person who gets really excited when the sky is in pretty colors.” -unknown

Beautiful sunset view from my backyard
July 2017

This would be me for sure. The older I get, the more I love and appreciate nature, and rejoice in the simpler things of life. But mostly I’m drawn to the vastness and beauty of the sky. God’s canvas is an ever-changing masterpiece. Every sunrise, every sunset, and all the sky in-between have a beauty all it’s own. I hope the majority of those skies fill you with peace.

Moosehead Lake, Maine
October 2019

No matter where you are the sky is a constant. You can enjoy the beauty of it from a rocky mountain top or while kayaking through a river gorge. It’s not always brightly colored but it is always beautiful, and sometimes, mischievous.

Maine view
October 2019

When the skies are grey and heavy, I picture myself on a plane. As we take off and head upward, we pass through those clouds. And what do we find on the other side? The sun. Try to remember that, especially during the long, sunless winter months. The sun is always shining. We are only separated by clouds.

Arial view
August 2017
March 2016

While I enjoy the early morning sunrise, I think I love sunsets best, but I’m really thankful I don’t have to choose between the two. I believe that sunsets over water are some of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.

St. Joe, Michigan
June 2016

I am forever that person who appreciates the beauty of a changing sky. I hope you are too.

Thanks for coming back. I appreciate you!
Enjoy your coffee! ♥️

Andi

A Blog Update

A picture I colored for a good friend of mine.

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog so far. I’ve had great responses from readers too. So I’m a happy girl. 😊

I appreciate that you are not the grammar police because I know there are many violations. 😊 I am not an English scholar. I just write. I do review my blog, put it away, review, put it away, review…etc., until I feel it’s suitable. Then after posting I tend to find a few more errors. But it’s too late. I can (and do) make corrections to the original but it’s too late for what you receive by email. Thank you for overlooking errors while focusing on the message. I appreciate YOU!

I have gotten a great start by blogging everyday for these first two weeks. I will probably bring it down to 2-3 times a week. As much as I enjoy writing, you probably don’t need a daily email. It will free me up to get things around here at home too…although, I could write 24 hours a day, and it still wouldn’t be enough.

Thank you for your support and for your input. Thank you for being here again today to read this blog update.

Hot coffee is so good on this cold day! ❤️

Andi

Buddy’s Bible

One Sunday morning, back when our family was still young and growing, we decided to visit a tiny, white building which housed a church. Originally, the building was built for a few families to gather to homeschool their children. We unloaded our then five children out of the suburban and marched them into the building, little knowing that our lives would be forever changed and richly blessed by love of an elderly man, named Buddy.

There was just a handful of people attending there at that time. Our seven people filled up a row. Everyone greeted us with handshakes and smiles. After hearing a wonderful message by Buddy, we prepared to leave. Everyone shook our hands and smiled once more, suggesting, hoping, that we would come back again. As I was walking out, Buddy caught me in the doorway. “Can you teach? We need a teacher for the younger children.” And the rest is history.

Buddy quickly became a “member” of our family. He and his lovely wife lived about 35 minutes away, but he spent a tremendous amount of time at our home over the next couple of years. He studied with us. He took time with our now six children and he took time with me and my husband. We all fell in love with Buddy.

On his way to our home in the fall, he would stop at a farmer’s market and pick up a gallon of cider and maybe some persimmons to give us. We would sit around and talk about his life as he had so many stories to tell. A few I still remember but my busy life erased many from my mind. And that saddens me. One story I do remember was when he was in training in the military. He had to crawl under barbed wire while being shot at with live bullets. He lifted his head up slightly and a bullet hit his helmet. He laughed when he shared that story with us but I am sure it wasn’t so funny then.

Eventually, he had to retire from preaching and he and his wife decided to move back to Tennessee to be closer to their son and his family. Buddy was sick. We visited them while he was still able to get around. He took us on a country music star scenic bus tour in Nashville. That was fun. I still remember seeing Alan Jackson’s beautiful home from the road.

We continued to keep in touch daily by phone. He still answered our many questions and gave advice when we needed it. Or, sometimes, we just chatted. Finally, he just wasn’t able to do that any longer. We got a call one day that he wasn’t doing well. We loaded into the van and drove five hours to his home, praying all the way that he’d wait for us. He did. We sat by his bedside. I read the Bible aloud as that was “home” to him and a great comfort. The Bible was his life. We held his hands and even though we could no longer understand him verbally, his eyes reflected love. No fear. Only love.

We finally had to say our last goodbyes. That broke our hearts. I could see the sadness in him as well and that was hard to take. He passed away a day or so later on September 21, 2004.

Awhile before he passed, he and I had a conversation about Bibles. I asked if I might have the Bible he opened up to us so many times. He said that I could. Once he passed, I did receive a Bible but not that particular one. That Bible went to his grandson because it had been accidentally left in the truck that was given to him from his grandad. I selfishly was a little sad about that.

The wooden box that houses Buddy’s Bible.

I remember having a meltdown one day because of the loss of such a great friend. And his passing was truly a huge loss in my life. I was alone in my room and I held that old Bible, and even though it wasn’t “the” Bible we studied, I was soon to discover it held a gift that made it all the more special. As I cried (I may or may not have been feeling sorry for myself), I held that Bible close and I felt something on the back cover. Curiously, I looked it over and when I realized what it was, I cried even harder. For on the back cover AND on the front, were the indentations of his thumb and fingers. Buddy would hold that Bible at his side while he stood. His thumb on the back cover and his fingers on the front. I quickly found pictures taken of him with my kids and there he was holding the Bible in just that manner. To me, it represented how tightly he hung onto the Word of God. He never let go of it his whole life. I found such peace in realizing this wonderful gift he left me and I was reminded of what was truly important. It wasn’t all about me and my loss…or not receiving the particular Bible I had asked for. And I was greatly humbled…again.

Buddy’s Bible and the dried petals from the rose given to me by his son, Keith, at his funeral.

Every once in awhile, I will press my fingers and thumb into those indentations and I am reminded to get back on track. Buddy’s love will was great, but God’s is far greater. Sometimes we need earthly reminders because we are human and tend to forget.

While Buddy’s finger indentations on the front of the Bible are fading, his thumb print is still quite present. ♥️

I thank God that He gave us Buddy during the end of his life. It would have been great to have known him for longer than a few short years, but everything is in God’s timing. He knew our family needed Buddy then. He also knew that we depended on Buddy so much, maybe too much, that we needed to finally stand on our own. I don’t believe that is why Buddy had to leave, but there is a lesson in everything. And I am grateful for that.

I felt this was an appropriate story to share on this Sunday morning. I actually had another blog prepared when I thought of this about an hour or so ago. I think I was supposed to write this today for some reason. I hope you gathered something good and uplifting from it.

Thank you for being here when you could easily have chosen to be somewhere else. ♥️

This morning’s coffee is Door County Frosted Cinnamon Roll. It is pretty good, don’t you agree?

Andi

EMOTIONS

Cataract Falls, upper
Autumn 2019

EMOTIONS

Is there shame in expressing sadness, heartache, or pain,
To look toward the sun and only see rain,
Is it absurd of me to feel such emotions,
Must I drink from the well of those “feel good” potions?

My feelings are genuine and very real to me,
Please don’t condemn because you can’t see,
That the positive and negative, together compose,
The very essence of people, with their highs and their lows.

Perpetual happiness is wrong to expect,
When a heart is so broken; emotions reflect,
As God in the beginning blessed all of mankind,
With many emotions, at His will He designed.

So cherish and marvel at this wonderful gift,
Knowing life isn’t always joyful and bliss,
While lifting a sad soul to a happier place,
Variety of emotion is worth the embrace.

January 25, 2013

I wrote this when I was going through a very difficult time. Actually, I was going through my divorce. And I was sad. I thought about emotions. Why do we have them and where did they come from?

You often hear one person tell another to not be sad. But I believe that sadness is just as important as happiness. I’m not talking about depression. I’m talking about the emotion of sadness.

Emotions were designed by our Creator. And He was perfect in His design. Emotions bring people closer together because when there are no words, hearts speak to each other. Emotions are expressive, and they make life colorful.

So don’t stifle sadness. Instead, comfort. Strengthen. Be compassionate. Be understanding. And always, love. ♥️

Thank you for sharing this cup with me.
Your presence is always welcome at my table.

Andi

Find Your Gift

This lovely quote hangs on my wall.

In continuing with my thoughts from yesterday, I’d like to expand a little more on finding your gift.

When I was in junior high school, I had an amazing language arts teacher, Miss Mahoney. She, and my favorite singer, John Denver, helped me discover my love for poetry. Along with my own poems, I would write down the lyrics to his lovely songs and put them in a folder. I would read poetry books. Even Rod McKuen’s sultry poetry books. 😲 I’d listen to America a lot. Their songs made me anxious to start my life. I wanted to get on the highway and just head west toward the setting sun. I simply loved how poetry and music made me feel.

Then high school happened and my interest turned more towards friends…and boys. While music was still very important to me, poetry quietly disappeared. Before the start of my junior year, we moved away from the friends I grew up with and loved. I was sad for a long time. It was a hard transition. A year after high school though, I was married. Children came and well, life just happened. To make a very long story short, I finally rekindled my love of writing poetry in my early 50’s. I had gone decades without writing. Well, except for the many “letters to the editor” I wrote. I could be pretty vocal at times. 😬 Imagine that.

What I’m trying to say is that writing has been with me my whole life. It laid dormant for decades, but it was still there. Kind of like preserved in a cocoon. Now I can’t imagine not writing.

What do you have tucked away just waiting to emerge? Do you know what your gift is? I think deep inside you do. Don’t let others hinder you. Don’t keep it dormant. Don’t make excuses, and don’t wait to enjoy it!

Because I consider writing to be a gift and am so grateful for it, my intention is to always use it for good. I desire to write thought-provoking and encouraging messages that stir your heart in a good and warm way. My heart is filled with appreciation for what’s been given to me.

When you discover your gift, or if you already know what it is, be sure to share it. A gift has more value if it is given to others.

Be kind. Be loving. And do all with thanksgiving in your heart. ♥️

Thank you for stopping by!
Coffee with you makes my day brighter. ☀️

Andi

Not a Writer

A few years back, I was told by someone that I am not a writer.

“You are not a writer.”

I held back the tears.

Writing is a huge part of me and makes me who I am. So I was devastated. I didn’t understand the reasoning for that statement. It came out of nowhere. I couldn’t say a thing. I just sat there. Crushed. Still to this day those words continue to cut through my heart every time I try to write. Yes, every time.

It makes me wonder then…

Who is a writer? What makes a person a writer…or not? And who gets to decide? Can a poet be considered a writer? A news reporter? A dreamer? A simple girl with a simple blog?

Maybe this person believes you are only allowed to wear the title “writer” if you are paid to write. If that is the case, I am not a writer, as I do not get paid. Once upon a time, I had my own column in a newspaper. It was a trial run for the paper to see if they could reach people across the state line. It was short lived, but I did get paid. And I got to use a really nice camera. 😬 I guess I once was a writer.

Just to be fair, I am not here to shame this person. Everyone has their own opinion. But their opinion does not override the opinions of others, or of my own. What was their purpose of trying to shatter my dream? That, I just cannot understand. Although the words spoken years ago hurt just the same today, I will still write. Sometimes it does put doubt in my mind and I find it hard to move past the block. But I work through it. Writing means that much to me.

I know several people who express themselves very well through writing. They put me to shame. I personally consider them to be writers. They do not get paid. They didn’t start a blog. But they have a gift. A gift of expression. And that is how I view writing.

I would like to touch on a two points before you leave me today.

My first point is EMBRACE YOUR GIFT. And I believe every person is gifted in something. Don’t allow anyone to destroy that special part of you when they say you aren’t a dancer, a painter, a singer, or a writer. Love all that makes you who you are. Even if there’s no paycheck. Embrace your ability. Have fun with it! But if by chance someone does says something hurtful, just know that it isn’t about you. Move past the block and work on loving and perfecting your talent.

My second point is WATCH YOUR TONGUE. It is razor sharp and can drop an adult to their knees. Imagine the damage it does to a child. Always be mindful of what comes out of your mouth. Preferably, BEFORE you speak. You cannot take back how you made a person feel. You just can’t. This person acknowledged what they said to me sometime later. But the damage was already done. Think before speaking. SIMPLY be kind and supportive. And if you cannot find it within yourself to do so, please…just walk away.

Be grateful for all that you have…and for your special gift. Be thankful for challenges because they make you stronger. Be compassionate toward others. Count your blessings. And love yourself!

Thank you for being here. I am so glad you decided to have coffee with me. You made my day. ♥️

Andi

The scenic photo is of Big Long Lake, taken in 2012. A place that gives me peace.

No Whining Allowed

Coffee is better with friends!

Life can really beat us down sometimes. And it can often be brutal. It’s during these times we need to pay careful attention to how we communicate our situation to others. When things are horribly bad I realize it’s not really our main concern…about how others view us. But if we are going to let loose about our life and it’s hardships, then yes, we need to care. When we bring a person into our world, we need to first consider our purpose for sharing with them. Is it for help? Is it for advice, or is it purely for sympathy? Do we need comfort? What do we really want from them?

Often during difficult times we become weak and even bitter. Then when we do share with others, we sometimes don’t have our filters turned on or we wear our heart on our sleeve. Everything, plus some, comes spilling out. I know this to be true because I’ve been there. There is a difference between honestly needing help, venting, and whining. Our design is such that we need each other, so I do not desire to take away from well-meaning conversation and/ or comfort in time of need for help and advise.

When we whine, we:

1. …isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. Our problems are bigger than anyone else’s and no one has ever experienced the same. That is often our mindset. We are all alone because no one can possibly understand.

2. …build a wall that no one can scale or break through. Honestly, we truly don’t want anyone to come into our domain. We prefer to throw it all over the wall to you. We won’t even listen to the help before us because we truly do not want it.

3. …demand sympathy. Feel sorry for me, please! We would rather waller around in mud because we find comfort there…and attention, which leads to…

4. Drama. Some people live for drama. They want to be the center of not only their world, but yours too.

5. What we do not realize is that when we whine purely for the sake of complaining, we dump our mess into someone else’s lap. We often ruin their hour, their day, their night, etc., with our problems. Many people are sponges and healers. They take on other people’s problems and make them their own. Yes, that is a fault to some extent. They should be able to put up a barrier to protect themselves, but they don’t always do that. When you unload on them, you place on them a heavy burden which they happily take home with them…because they just love sleepless nights. And they do this while you skip away feeling lighter and happier. So whining can put undo stress upon another.

Venting is “using” a person as a sounding board. You aren’t asking for anything at all. When we speak out loud, we can ”hear” the story ourselves. And with that, we can pretty much figure things out on our own along with some discussion with our friend.

So no matter whether we’ve lost our job, are experiencing sickness, are financially broke, have kid problems, or mother-in-law problems, etc., we need to ask ourselves what is the reason for sharing. If it’s not for help or advice, then maybe let the dust settle a bit before sharing. Sometimes situations look better a few days later.

Just be careful who you talk to. And be sure you understand your need for sharing the story. Is it purely for attention? Or do you truly need help and/ or comfort?

It’s always great to have you here. Coffee is better with friends!

Andi

A Dragon Tree

Sitting in the sunroom on this cloudy, Sunday morning, I am enjoying the view of the sunrise as it tries to break through the clouds, which have been a heavy canopy over my home for way too long now. Two of my besties are with me. My dog, Hercules, and a hot cup of coffee. As I scan the room, I notice how wonderfully, healthy my plants are and that makes me happy. Then I focus my attention to the oldest plant in this room. My tricolor Madagascar dragon tree. It absolutely loves this room. I don’t recall when I first brought him home because it was so long ago. This tree was in our classroom for at least 12 years when all of my kids were home. All the lessons it sat through, along with the laughter, the jokes, the singing, the loving, and the scolding. This tree has been here in this sunroom now for six and a half years. So he is getting up there in age.

I am feeling very grateful for memories with my children and the blessing in everyday life. Even when things aren’t going so great. And if a simple tree in my sunroom serves as a reminder of these things, then I guess it’s okay to have a sentimental attachment to a dragon tree.

Thank you always for stopping by.

The coffee is good this morning. And so is the company. ♥️

Andi

Butterflies and Roses

Because of you, I have…

“Butterflies and Roses”

Butterflies and roses,
gifts from a friend.

Treasures I’ll keep
from now to my end.

Dragonflies, rainbows
bring tears to my eyes,

Of both joy and sorrow,
of hellos and goodbyes.

The moment you left us
many hearts broke.

But loving kindness
was the story you wrote.

So I’ll treasure these gifts
and remember your smile.

And the warmth of your love,
I’ll carry each mile.

I miss you beyond measure
as everyone does,

But you left us your legacy
of compassion and love.

Butterflies and roses,
gifts from a friend.

Treasures I’ll keep
from now to my end.



Written in honor of Michelle 🦋
November 11, 2016

Happy Birthday, Chelle. ♥️

February 1, 1962

Thank you for being here.

Andi

Don’t Be Afraid to Make Changes

All the people closest to me know that I do not like change. When I see an actor who I haven’t seen in awhile, I get sad at how much they’ve aged. When I drive past the house where I grew up and see all the changes made to it and how mature all the trees are in my yard and in the neighborhood, I get homesick. As my kids grow up and get married and move out of my house, my heart hurts. I want my mom here. And my best friend. That is the hardest change of all…death.

I can’t help it. There are just some things I don’t want to change. Ever. But, realistically, all those I listed are out of my control. I have no authority or power to change any of them. And I am finally realizing that fighting change, arguing with change, despising change only causes me more grief. I’m in my 50’s and finally getting a grip on this whole concept.

On the flip side, are the things that we can change, and we shouldn’t be afraid to make them. Granted, I still fear change of any sort, but I’ve undoubtedly had to make changes throughout my life. Good and bad. This doesn’t mean I haven’t struggled with decisions I’ve made, or like Lot’s wife, turned back to see what I’ve left behind.

2019 was a very good year for me in many ways. I found my inner happiness. I did things on my own and basically, grew up a bit. Things that were BIG in my eyes. And in doing so, I learned so much about myself. Then I made some good, positive changes.

And yes, change can absolutely be good. An example is that I recently changed jobs. It was a great move for me. It’s not 100% what I need financially but the rewards are priceless. My personal growth this past year has been due partly to my new job.

Maybe in our late teens, early twenties, we have this view of how our life will be. We plan it all out. School. Job. Marriage. Family. Cute, little cottage home on Sycamore Street. But once we actually get into life, it doesn’t go as well as we envisioned. But that can be okay too. We can accept it, then make it good by adjusting our mindset, and making necessary changes.

A friend of mine is remodeling an older home. He walked into the project with ideas. But as he started tearing into it, he’d make a change here or there. His friends would stop by and make suggestions that he never thought of but really liked. So he made more changes. And, although, he’s remodeling the same house, it won’t look anything like he thought it would when he started the project. But that doesn’t make it bad. In fact, it’s going to be even better than he initially dreamed.

Such is life. Don’t be afraid to step out and make changes from the original plan. Listen to good, sound advice from others periodically, too. Weigh their suggestions, and run with it…if it’s good, positive advice. Change doesn’t need to be on the naughty list.

Life should be colorful. It’s like painting a canvas and adding splashes of color wherever you need it, but also where you desire. It’s your painting. Your canvas. Your life. Make it colorful by adding changes here and there. It may not look anything like like you planned out at the beginning, but it could be even better than you dreamed.

Embrace change. Make life colorful.

Thank you for stopping by!
The coffee is always on. ♥️

Andi

Stress

S – steals
T – time
R – relationships
E – energy
S – self-worth
S – spirit

Stress.

We are all too familiar with it. It is in every corner of our life. Once you clean out one corner, you turn around and there is another stressor staring at you, face to face. Many times, there are more than one stressor when you feel you are at your weakest.

Stress in today’s world is much different than in past generations. The advancement of technology has brought along with it a whole new, extensive set of problems. In a day when technology was designed to alleviate stress and make our lives easier…well..it just hasn’t. True, there are great advancements in the medical and science realms to keep us healthier and safer, but as far as in our personal lives, technology hasn’t been all that grand. This is my observation and opinion.

I have enjoyed the reconnecting of friends and family on social media. But I also admit to spending an overwhelming about of time on it anticipating likes and follows, cute emojis, friend requests, connections to the outside world…the list goes on and on. Texting is another issue that has gotten out of hand. Precious time wasted when I should be loving on my family here at home, going out for a walk, taking my dog for a car ride, reading, writing, working on my household “to do” list, or visiting a friend in person. All of these get placed on the back-burner. And no one pays attention to the back-burner.

Stress comes in many forms, not only from our use or misuse of technology. However you want to look at it. We have bills, children, aging parents, special needs, PTSD, illness, death, marriages, divorce, decisions, schedules, deadlines, work, travel. The list is endless. All of these add stress to our lives. Truth is we cannot avoid any of them. They are a part of life today.

Stress affects each one of differently. Some become emotional eaters while others lose weight. Many toss and turn all night. Sweet people become bitter and react verbally with salty, mean words. Some turn to alcohol or drugs as “coping” measures. Others become quiet and hibernate within the recesses of their mind. Some become cutters. Then there are many, just too many, who feel there is no longer hope and no other way to escape the pain associated with stress, so sadly, they opt to take their own life.

Stress steals our time, our relationships, our energy, our self-worth, and our spirit. And most of what we worry about, and all the scenarios we create in our mind that “could” happen, never do. A week from now, a month, five years, or 20, we won’t even remember what stole this particular day from us. But it did. It stole a kiss from our significant other. It stole playtime with our toddler, or a hug from an elderly neighbor. It stole a phone call that should have been made. It stole our best performance at work. It robbed us of time with God. It stole our gratitude. And it broke our spirit. It was relentless of what it took from us or how much debris it left in its path. It took and took and took.

But we allowed it.

I allowed it.

As hard as that is to swallow, it is truth. I had to accept it. How we react to stress is key to survival. We alone are responsible for our reactions, and our actions. That’s not to say we can’t depend on others or on God. I do not believe that we were designed to live independent from each other. We need people in our life even if we feel we are better off alone. It’s an awesome way to obtain balance and solutions. We draw from each other’s strengths. That is the beauty of humankind. There is a wealth of goodness in relationships. I believe this.

I would hate to see the actual percentage of time I have wasted on worry and the crazy scenarios I created in my mind in the middle of the night. I spent a lot of time being angry, sad, anxious, depressed, and overwhelmed. It took away quality time with the people I love most on this earth. And I know I hurt them by being short or sharp-tongued at times. Precious time I lost forever which can never be returned.

You are not alone in your feelings of stress. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your social status is, how much, or how little, money you have, or how many cars are in your garage. No one is above the anguish of stress. Know that you are not alone, there are answers, and many, many others who are struggling the same as you. Use this time to make yourself stronger and more assertive. No matter what you are going through, or have gone through, lift someone else up. Turn your focus and your energy to helping others. That is very healing in itself.

Pray for strength. Pray for vision. Pray for others who are experiencing what you are going through for you know their pain. And I will pray for you.

Stress. We cannot avoid it so let’s accept it and learn how handle it wisely. Help each other. Listen to what someone is “not” saying. Be a good friend.

If you, or someone you know, is in a place of desparation, please know there is help out there. I am enclosing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number.

1-800-273-8255.

Because someone needs you here.

I am grateful for your visit.
Thanks for sharing a cup with me today.

Andi


A special thanks to my friend, MH, who suggested I consider this topic.

Listen to Your Kids , LL #402

My Christmas Angel

Christmas, long ago

The living room was a huge mess when Kayla and I headed out for our evening together. I figured I’d finish the Christmas decorating on Sunday afternoon. You see, I always took charge of all of holiday decorating myself. I was on a mission. A 3-4 day mission. I was tough. Tougher than I should have been. I admit that now. The older kids knew the “look” when they put a snowman, a bell, or a bow in a place that I did not designate for that particular decoration. I guess I’m just too much of a perfectionist at times. To a fault, maybe. But, ohhhhh, the pure joy on their faces when the decorating was complete. To see those precious faces light up was my reward. To this day, they say I made their Christmases magical. That’s all I wanted.

But right before Kayla and I left, I saw stockings hanging off the rail in the loft above the living room and a little girl, of 10, racing around like she consumed a pot of coffee. Without yelling at her to stop, I simply placed my hand on my forehead from the instant migraine I received at the thought of all the work I was going to have to do tomorrow, and walked out the door.

When we returned later that night, I noticed from the driveway, snowflakes hanging from the living room curtains. It was dark then so with the Christmas tree lights and the dangling snowflakes, the front window made our home look cozy. And inviting. I actually thought it was sweet of her to remember those and my Grinch heart softened….just a little.

When I walked into the living room, all I could do was stand there in awe at the beautiful sight before me. Mattea put the star on the tree and even though it had fallen over, it made the tree complete. She placed snowmen perfectly all around the room. Garland and red bows decorated the rail along the loft overlooking the living room. Decorations here and there. All strategically placed. But the most amazing of all was the fireplace. Garland was strung from one light to the other on the stone of the fireplace. Big red bows were attached to each light. I had never in our eleven years at that home ever thought of adding garland and bows to the fireplace, and it was…perfect! She was beaming with pride and so very happy to see my happiness at what she had accomplished all on her own. I told Mattea how very proud I was of her and how tremendously happy she made me.

As I reflect back to those earlier years, I wonder how much joy I stole from my older kids by not allowing them to help me. That thought kind of made my heart hurt.

Never underestimate your children and the capabilities of those young, beautifully designed, minds and bodies. Enclosed within their tiny heart is the purest desire to please. That’s where they find joy, as well. Let’s not stifle that. I humbly acknowledge that this little one taught me a lesson. Life Lesson # 402.

December 2, 2012
Edited January 29, 2020

I will drink my coffee this morning and reflect on the preciousness of children. Be grateful for every moment with them because they grow up just too fast.

Thank you for visiting me this morning.
The coffee is still hot if you‘d like to sit awhile. There’s always much to talk about. ♥️

Andi

The Bicycle

For many years now I have been intrigued with a particular rusty old bike. This bike is always in the same place. It is never ridden. The snow drifts rise up around it in the winter and the scorching sun beats down on it in the summer. Through the winds and rain, sleet and hail, it remains in that one spot. Never moving. Always quiet. And I wonder.

I wonder what the story is surrounding that old bike. It appears to be white in color. I cannot really see all the details from the road. I can’t even tell if it is a man’s or woman’s bike. I will tell you that it is in a huge parking lot of a factory and chained to a light pole. It’s not located in the front of the lot but more off to the side. My mind races with stories of this mysterious bicycle as I pass by each day.

Sometimes, many times, I have thought of going to the office of that factory to see if they can tell me the history of the bike. I will drive by and check if the gate is open. When I do see the gate is open I end up talking myself out of going in. Do I really want to know what happened to the owner? And why they left it? I’m not sure.

Maybe someone just didn’t want it anymore. But then why is it still there?
Maybe someone didn’t make it out of the factory able to ride again. Ever.
Or maybe the owner left with someone else leaving their past far behind chained to a light pole.

But I believe in my heart that it was left there on purpose as a reminder or a memorial of someone special. Someone who meant something to those people in that factory. The factory has changed some over the last few years. It was renamed and I don’t know if the manufacturing changed as well. But someone rode that bike there. And someone else knows its story.

As I passed by tonight, I started thinking about someone’s memory of that bike and then my thoughts turned to my own memories. I have thousands that I treasure. Many that are painful. And some I don’t share with anyone. In a way, they resemble that old bike. They are chained to my heart like that bike is chained to the light pole. And no one disturbs them.

I am assuming we all have memories that are chained quietly to our hearts like the bike is chained. They remain there throughout the changing weather in our lives…joy, pain, sadness, and love. I know there are some memories that you probably prefer to forget. But hopefully, there are many more that you want close enough to tap into every now and then. Every memory, though, serves a purpose. A lesson or a blessing. Be thankful for that. All of them helped to make you who you are today.

Thanks for listening to me ramble on tonight about a mysterious old bike.

I hope your day was good and that you enjoyed coffee with me tonight.

Thanks for stopping by.

Andi

Update on June 15, 2020
I added these photos which were taken on my way home from work. It is still there and definitely a men’s white bike.

Selfishness

I believe selfishness is the underlying factor to every “sin” in this world. I think if we dissected every act that is contrary to good, we’d find selfishness as the root. Out of selfishness stems greed, lack of self-control, pride, impatience, arrogance, etc.

But it isn’t always the other person who is selfish. I found myself to be selfish as recently as today. My selfishness, in turn, caused another grief and frustration. Someone I definitely never wanted to hurt or cause even the slightest of ill feeling toward me. I can say I’m sorry all I want but I cannot take back how I made that person feel. All I can do is apologize and not allow selfishness to rule my person again. This old dog can still learn new tricks. That’s only because I want to. (And because I was hit in the head again.) I don’t want my fossilized footprints embedded negatively upon anyone’s heart.

Examine your motive behind the act. Is the underlying reason stemming from selfishness? If so, approach from a different angle. Figure out a truer and better way to accomplish whatever it is that needs to be done. Had I sat down and discussed the issue at hand instead of whining and complaining, hurt feelings would have been nonexistent.

Think before speaking. Even when you are tired. Or hungry. There really is no excuse except for…well…selfishness.

Thank you for coming by again today.
The coffee is still on.

Andi

Embrace the Beauty

Cataract Falls (lower)
-high water-
June 24, 2018

I apologize for the glitches to my blog. It is frustrating me but I will get this figured out. Thanks for your patience and for being here. It means so much just knowing that you came here on purpose. I am grateful.

I will not get into politics. Please consider this a safe haven from our nation’s current events. But I will say that our country is a mess. We are so greatly divided and that is quite disturbing because we are the greatest nation of all. Our land is diverse with deserts and mountains, prairie, forests, and beaches. It would take more than a lifetime to travel every backroad to find the magical places not included on scenic tours. Our people are as diverse and as beautiful as the landscape. We come from all over the world. We are a combination of many people from many lands. That makes our country even more wonderful.

I urge you to embrace the beauty of our land. I encourage you to see as much of it as you can. Make a positive impact in our great country by doing good in your corner of it. Be kind. Be understanding as we all have a story, a history, a reality. Realize, too, that each of us is far from perfect. Listen to each other. Think before speaking. Don’t feed hatred and it’s ugliness. Be the kinder person.

Those are my thoughts for this day.

Thanks for being here.
The coffee is always on.

Andi

My Second Post

I promise I won’t number each post. I just didn’t know what to title this as it’s pretty much a continuation of my first post.

Getting this blog to go public was causing me great frustration. I am not sure what I did to correct it. But it finally posted not too long ago. The frustration continued from yesterday into today. That means I didn’t sleep well last night. I needed to work again today so I was frustrated all night about not being able to sleep because of my frustration of not getting this blog online. That…..was a total waste of energy. PATIENCE. Everything has a way of working itself out, one way or another.

So here I am and very happy to be here. I hope you find enjoyment out of this blog. A couple of coworkers asked me today why I started a blog. I told them I just have to write. I don’t have another answer other than it’s easier for me to communicate by writing than by talking. I have this desire to help others as well. Hopefully, my thoughts will interest you. Or at least, give you something to think about. We all have our own perspective on things. It’s not necessarily right or wrong. Just different ways of seeing the same thing. I never really understood that concept until the last few years. Seems like everything I’ve learned has been dumped into the last few years.

Remember to be thankful always. Even on the though days. Today, I am thankful I didn’t throw my computer out the window. My blog posted. 🙂

Andi