Place of Prayer

I am overwhelmed this morning with the dire situation of our country and our world. As a mom, I still want to protect my children, even though they are all adults. I would prefer they would all be under one roof again. My roof. I simply cannot turn off the mom in me.

I texted my youngest son today. He and his children live a thousand miles away. I told him the heaviness of my heart. He responded with precious words of wisdom. I am humbled. Sometimes we need to allow our children to grow up and perfect on the teachings of their youth.

From Ezekiel, my son:

I love you too.
I understand your worries. But try not too. Nothing can happen in this life unless God allows it too. He is in control no matter how evil people are. This weight of worry is supposed to be on Jesus and Jesus alone, not you. If you stop dwelling on these things you’ll begin to see the bright side to things and peace will begin to enter your spirit.

I will lay this worry, my fears, this burden at Jesus’s feet.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the power of God, and stop acting as though we are God. Many things are absolutely out of our control. Pray for the ones who fight earnestly for the good of the people. God has placed good, intelligent, strong people in areas where they will make a difference. Pray for them.

We all have a place. Sometimes it’s in a place of prayer. While prayer may seem as though it doesn’t count for much, it is the most powerful place to be. Do the right things in your corner of the world and pray without ceasing.

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.

Place of prayer…pray without ceasing. Let’s do our part in these troubling times.

Thank you, Ezekiel, for showing me the strength of your faith this morning. I praise God that you’ve become the godly man I hoped and prayed you’d be. ♥️

Andi

Photo: taken on my drive home from work, June 1, 2022 (a rainbow, the sign of promise)

Beneath the Twilight Magic

Life moves quickly. Years become decades within minutes, so it seems. I’ve lived six of them now. Our years are a compilation of numerous beginnings and endings with lots of middles. Those middles are where life is lived.

Last week was bittersweet. Last week we laid Mom to rest after almost seven years.

When Mom’s brain was healthy, her wishes were for us kids to take her ashes to the Chiricahua National Monument in SE Arizona. She wanted to leave enough money to take our families with us. Well, that didn’t happen. Somewhere along her timeline, Mom lost her life insurance and other monies. Sadly, none of us three kids have had the money or time to take her there. I had Sugarloaf Mountain chosen to spread her ashes. The sunrises and sunsets would be amazing from there. Mom sure loved the beauty of southwest.

When Mom’s mind became ravaged with dementia she wanted to just go home. Home. I know the feeling of just wanting to go home. Back to your roots. Back to the old days. Back to Mom and Dad. Well, home to her was Minnesota. Way up there in the boonies about an hour east of Fargo, North Dakota.

But that wasn’t going to happen either. We knew Mom’s life there wasn’t easy. It was too cold and snowy for her too. So when my brother recently moved to a beautiful place in North Carolina, that’s where we decided she needed to be. After all, she had been in NC since 1982. She loved it there and North Carolina was home to her. It’s warm and smells of pine. That’s where two of her three children have lived near her all those years as well. And I have to admit that NC is one of the most beautiful states in our country. It was the right choice.

So I made the trek there. A journey that was difficult for many reasons. But I did it. I needed to go. I needed to see my brother and sister as well.

On May 25th, we planted our dear mother beneath a young twilight magic crape myrtle. Beneath its burgundy leaves and hopeful pink blossoms, we finally laid her to rest.

I have never done anything like that before. But it was finally closure. And that’s exactly what it felt like. I didn’t realize that all these years I carried around this feeling of incompleteness.

The next day I was to leave for home and another task was at hand. That was to load my car with my dad’s belongings. He passed away a year ago March 29th. He had lived in Florida and we divided his belongings about a month after his passing. My siblings brought his things to NC and it was time to bring a part of him home with me.

I kept my composure throughout my stay. I felt kind of numb actually. It wasn’t until I got on the road after our goodbyes, and headed home that I finally felt anything. I came across a huge road sign on the highway that said “Buckhorn Road”. That’s when my heart hurt for the first time that week and tears filled my eyes. My mom once lived on Buckhorn Rd. I would never visit her there again. I had my dad’s treasures with me. The dividing and laying to rest were finished. It was all finished. Oh, how my heart hurt. The end of an era.

When we woke up the morning I was to leave, the day after burying our mother, my brother told us to come quickly to the front window to see the sight. Twin newborn fawns were born in the area around the newly planted crape myrtle. With shaky legs they explored the front yard. Their momma was near and ever so watchful. All I could think about was how happy our mom would be to see this beautiful sight surrounding her place. She would think it was absolutely perfect. I thanked God for this moment.

Beneath the twilight magic rests one of the most beautiful women to ever grace this earth. My momma. How I wish to hold her one more time. ♥️

Andi

Photo Credits: Sugarloaf Mountain, rshantz.com; twilight magic crape myrtle, homedepot.com; momma deer with one of her twins; Mom’s resting place

The Giant in My Life

For the last month or so, I have been doing daily Bible studies on YouVersion with a friend of mine who lives two states away. This has been blessing in my life.

We finished the last seven day study just as I was getting ready for a journey. An almost 700 mile journey. A journey I didn’t want to make for many reasons. But come to find out, my reasons were full of water literally and as hard as I tried to convince myself not to go, everything and everyone pointed me toward the necessity of making this trip.

Our Bible study leading up to this trip was Choosing Faith Over Fear. The last four days of the study centered around the shepherd boy, David, and a giant Philistine named Goliath.

Twelve year old David had great faith in God and a confidence within himself to conquer what made grown men cower. After all, he had slain both a bear and a lion while caring for his father’s sheep. But he revealed that God had protected him and he gave God the glory.

David didn’t think twice about what needed to be done to take care of this giant for God’s people. Although David couldn’t wear the armor of King Saul for protection, his faith was strong that God would protect him just as with the lion and bear. So David went out to meet this giant.

This lesson encouraged me to discover what the biggest giant is in my life. Now I was faced with this trip. Timing is sometimes everything.

But I fought it.

*I didn’t want to drive 700 miles alone in a world, that to me, is not very kind anymore.

*I didn’t want to spend money on the stupid high gas prices. (My children gave me gas money for the trip on my birthday.)

*I was intimidated by thoughts of stopping at gas stations along the way and being robbed or hurt.

*I was scared of having car trouble along busy interstates. (I upped my AAA.)

*I was already upset with those who were on the other end of those 700 miles.

*I just did not want to do this. At all.

These were a few of my waterlogged excuses not to go. Everything and everyone strongly pointed me to making this trip. Once I realized the support backing this journey, I believed this was God’s will so I conceded and began making plans to face what I thought was my giant. I wanted to know what God was to teach me this week as I now felt this trip had a godly purpose.

I started praying. He knows my fears. He knows me. I prayed that He would show me the lesson in this. What did He want to teach me? I asked God specifically to help me discover what the giant is in my life. Was it the traveling alone part? I want to have the faith in God and confidence in myself to slay whatever the giant(s) in my life. I had a minimum of 11 hours alone on the drive there to try to figure it out.

As soon as I got into my car to leave on Monday, I felt intense pain in my low back and right hip. I’ve been having issues with those areas and had a chiropractic adjustment on Saturday. But I think with twisting or lifting, I threw it all out again. So I had a great deal of physical pain the entire drive.

I thought I would have time to think. But I was wrong. Most of the journey was in the mountains. And when I reached those mountains for seven long hours it down poured. I mean it was relentless. Seven hours of almost nonstop downpours with many moments of not being able to see the lines on the road. Not to mention the many trucks slowing uphill and splashing past you on the downhill, drivers who speed in treacherous conditions, and those who don’t turn their lights on. And then, intense fog.

(If you must display major signage warning of fog, and the speed limit signs have to be lighted in order to see them, I’m thinking 60 mph is just too fast in these areas. Juss sayin’.)

By the time I reached my destination I was almost in tears. My body hurt so bad. My legs were swollen and so were my feet. My left foot was especially. I was a wreck. I could hardly make it up the stairs. The stress and tension too of the day had taken its toll on me.

I elevated my legs for a bit. Once the swelling had gone down (for the most part), I showered, took three droppers of CBD oil, and went to bed. I slept good.

I got up before everyone else and I sat in the living room by myself. I talked to God. I was grateful He got me there safely. With all the hydroplaning accidents I had seen along the way, I was very thankful. I was disappointed that I didn’t understand yet what my giant was after that exhausting and painful day. What was my lesson? Was it too early in my journey to know? I actually thought the drive itself was my giant, which I conquered, but I felt there was more.

I started to rehash in my mind all the events and conversations leading up to and concerning this trip. And then it hit me. I hit me hard. I realized what the giant is in my life. It couldn’t be more clearer or more obvious. The Goliath in my life is me.

I am my own worst enemy. My faith is weak. I overthink. I talk myself out of many things. No one on this planet hinders me more than my own self. No one belittles, discourages, rebukes, or insults me more than I do. No one guilts me more, shames me, weakens me, or stills the wind beneath my wings more than that Andi girl.

The truth was revealed. Now to work on slaying that giant. It might end up being a long, painful death as I have much work to do. But my God who made this known to me will not make me walk it alone. I now know what the biggest giant in my life is so now I can address it. Don’t they say that admission is the first step to recovery?

I know what many of my issues are so at least I have a starting point. Sometimes we don’t need to look very far as to what needs fixing.

What is the Goliath in your life? Have you ever thought about this?

My trip home was slightly better but an hour longer. Thirteen hours long. Still had fog and rain with a few downpours, but I was blessed to see the sun on occasion. I wasn’t swollen when I got home either. At least, not as bad.

I’m thankful for my journey this week and that God didn’t hesitate to reveal quickly the giant in my life. I have His promise that He won’t abandoned me but will provide strength, love, and encouragement as I begin another journey of sorts. I am blessed. ♥️

Andi

PHOTOS: wallpapercave.com; storm that hit five miles from home

Marriage, Divorce, and the Aging Game

Many of you know that I am divorced. Actually, twice divorced. Not proud of it. But it happened and I cannot go back. Nor should I. Whether or not the divorce has just cause, it’s detrimental to the individuals, the children, and to society as a whole. (I know there are serious circumstances that require a dissolution of marriage.) Family though is the very foundation of our world. That’s God’s design. When marriage falls apart our foundation loses a little more strength.

I’ve been divorced now almost 9 years. Separated about 2 1/2 years prior. I am more of a people-watcher now. I watch couples and young families especially. I certainly miss my young family.

On Friday, I bought lunch and went to a park. I ate in my car. I watched a beautiful little family having their picnic lunch on a blanket, like the good ole days. Mom, Dad, and a little boy. I don’t need to explain my view of gender. Also, God’s design. The little guy is at the super cute age right before walking.

As I ate my lunch, I felt an overwhelming urge to speak to them and I asked for God’s guidance as I felt the drive came from Him. I have been trying to listen and hear more. He uses us to reach others. So before I left the park, I got out of my car and walked over to them. Hopefully, they didn’t feel threatened by me as some crazy old lady. You’ve seen my wild hair. Friday was a bad hair day.

I told them they have a beautiful little family. I shared with them that I am a mom of six and my fifth grandchild is on the way. I also said I wasn’t sure if they needed to receive this or if the need was for me to give, but I spoke my heart. I told them I’ve been divorced twice. That is has been a difficult life and I advised them to do whatever possible to keep this precious unit together.

The parents smiled as I spoke. They didn’t say much. Just smiled. It was a nervous one-sided conversation, but Dad thanked me. They also waved goodbye when I left.

I don’t know why this took place or if their encounter with a crazy old lady was posted on social media before I even left the parking lot. It was out of my comfort zone for sure. I did forget to acknowledge God in my conversation which I regret. But I hope I did Him justice. Maybe there was a need for one or both of the parents to hear this. For God knows all. Or, maybe God is trying to teach me to listen and not be a hearer only, but a doer. Maybe it was that we all needed the experience.

As I get older, the world as I knew it, is gone. It’s very very different on the downside of 60. Life is no longer black and white. So many life changes blend the divide into grey. Extra baggage doesn’t help either.

You no longer look for someone to build a family and life with. You’ve done that. Now you watch from the sidelines as your children build their own lives. No…now it’s about a whole ‘nother type of loneliness and finding friendship and companionship. It’s about sharing a front porch swing with someone special who isn’t going to leave you because they have no where to go either.

I never realized this concept of aging. I never expected this. I thought everything would be figured out by this time in life and it would be a breeze, but it is not. Actually, living in the gray area has been the hardest stage of my life so far. By far, the loneliest stage of my life. Even more difficult than my high school years filled with cliques and peer pressure.

I encourage young couples to work hard at preserving their marriage. I believe traveling the downside of 60 with the one you lived life with would/ could/ should be a blessing.

I’ll leave you with this quote. I read it on a fellow blogger’s post.

God designed marriage. We should work our hardest at preserving it.

Happy Sunday. ♥️

Andi

Breaking In…

How many things have you had to break in before you got the best, most comfortable use out of them? You know…like breaking in a pair of shoes. At first it can be rough with blisters on your heels or maybe your little pinky toe turns a shiny red, but soon the shoe feels like a natural part of your foot.

How about…

Breaking in a pair of jeans.

Or, a pair of boots.
Work boots, cowboy boots, hiking boots.

A baseball glove.

A leather jacket.

A hat.

A new bath towel.

I thought about this breaking in stuff after I recently bought a new brassiere. Wow…it is almost painful to wear. (It’s like breaking in a saddle but without the squeak. 🤦🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️)

Breaking in…

What about in a spiritual sense? When we become Christians we kind of go through a breaking in period. This transitional period is filled with many changes and a whirlwind of emotion.

There’s the letting go and the pressing forward.

There’s the guilt-ridden moments when you suddenly realize the place you were…and you thought you were okay.

There may be the loss of people you love and admire as they just don’t understand. They liked you the way you were.

Then there’s Satan who will try even harder to break you. He wants you back.

It’s a difficult and challenging life but so worth it when all is said and done. The promises of God. That’s where our hope lies.

Breaking in…

It can be painful. But the best is yet to come when it is finally broken in.

Just my thought for today.

Have a great weekend. ♥️

Andi

Photos: taken during my Mother’s Day walk with my girls.

Happy Mother’s Day 🌸

The Covid period in our lives hurt us in many ways. We suffered in similar ways, and in different ways too. But the raw truth is, we all suffered. I cannot imagine the difficulty of being a mom of younger children during this time. Motherhood (and fatherhood) is difficult enough without explaining (and/or enforcing) things to children that we don’t understand ourself, things that don’t even make sense…or, maybe that of which we just don’t agree with. Mothers were dealt a dirty hand over the last couple of years.

Being a bit of a rebel, I know how I would have handled it with my six children. Granted, I homeschooled my kids but still…the whole world was different. It changed quickly and drastically. The world out there bled into our homes and personal lives. As their mom, I know that first and foremost, I would have placed their focus on God…on His strength, His comfort, His all-knowing, and on His ever-presence. As their teacher, our studies would have focused on government and science.

While the world would rather strip the importance of mothers from the record books, God lifts mothers to a beautiful place in His design. Praise and honor are her gifts. Children are her glory.

Proverbs 31:28
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her…

my babies…a long time ago

Pulling myself up and putting all the hurt and confusion in God’s hands is my current focus. He knows the ways I’ve suffered over many years. He knows the trials that are heavy in my life today too. So I will hand everything to God and find comfort in His arms.

While my mom role has changed now that my children are grown, finding clarity, strength, and guidance from Him will help me in my new role as grandma.

my grown up boys

my grown up girls

Praising God for moms today. Moms who love and serve Him first. Moms who teach their children right from wrong. Moms who are ever-present in their children’s lives. Moms who make sacrifices daily for their family.

Happy Mother’s Day, dear friends. ♥️

Andi

missing my sweet momma

I Once Was a Jedi

Last night I began going through tubs of old pictures. I was by myself and having a blast reminiscing. I thought I’d include my kids by taking pics of the pics and texting through a group chat. The pictures I sent weren’t the best quality with the glare but it was still fun. And away I sent them. One after another.

I continued sending pics while my phone was vibrating with conversation. I went back to see what the kids were saying. That’s when I saw what my middle son, Ezekiel, wrote:

“She once was a Jedi.”

What? I did not understand his comment so I started going back and reading more of the thread.

His comment was related to this picture of me holding my daughter, Charlie, in 1998.

And then he posted this picture of Obi-Wan Kenobi which he found online:

This was just too funny. Hmmmm….could I be part Jedi? I decided to research what exactly defines a Jedi. Right away I found the Jedi Code. I compared it to my Momma Code.

The Jedi Code: *

There is no emotion, there is peace.

There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.

There is no passion, there is serenity.

There is no chaos, there is harmony.

There is no death, there is the Force.

~ The Jedi Code ~

Jedis (online photo)

The Momma Code:

There is a boatload of emotion.

There is no peace or quiet until maybe after 10:00 pm. Maybe….

There are no excuses. There is plenty of homeschooling.

There is (was) passion – hence, six children. Sorry, kids 😬.

There are lots and lots of l love you’s, hugs, kisses, and bandaids.

There is much chaos.

There are moments of harmony between siblings.

There is no sleep.

There is coffee.

~ The Momma Code ~

Number 6 wasn’t born yet. 🙂

While I cannot claim to be a true Jedi, we do have some similarities.

1. We strive for order and justice.

2. We can move objects with our mind. My eyes are powerful.

3. We want to avoid the Dark Side.

4. We are peacemakers.

Last night was fun and my cheeks hurt from laughing even though I was all by myself. I woke up this morning still smiling.

I hope that you can periodically have moments like these. It makes life so much more pleasant, and fun!

May the force be with you.” ♥️

Andi

*The Jedi Academy WIKI

PS I should also add that I had to eat crow as my son-in-law noticed my hair in this picture and realized that it was shaved just above my ears. Recently, I was NOT thrilled that his wife, my daughter, shaved half her head. I totally forgot that I wore my hair this way…and I did so for many years! So my daughter is having a good old time with this revelation. 😃 A fun night!

Breezes

After writing my last post, REST, I went outside to sit on my back porch to reset my circadium rhythm with the early morning blue light of the sun. I have been reading more about the benefits of this lately. Today is my first day.

It’s a breezy morning and a little cool but not bad. I can see the sun and I welcome it’s energy. Nyx enjoys that I’m outside in her element after being cooped up all winter and during the many rainy, dreary days of spring.

It’s actually more than a breezy morning. It’s more like Pooh’s blustery day. My hair is pretty scary right now.

I sit here with my coffee and my dog and I thank God for the sun and the wind that rushes over me.

I think of all the breezes that have tussled my hair and engulfed my being throughout the years. For most of my life I tried to avoid the wind. It wasn’t until the salty sea breezes of years ago did I begin to appreciate it.

I think of the breeze as whispers of time, blowing memories in and out of my mind. It fills me with wonder and creativity. This is a moment of nature reaching out to touch me, and I feel a part of it. It’s better than a lover.

Some may think I’m strange with the thoughts I write about. But I am blessed (or, some may think, cursed) with feeling so much and so deeply. I embrace it.

I hope your day is good and that you can feel, to an extent, like I do. ♥️

Andi

REST

Our lives are so very busy that we don’t even realize just how busy until we are worn down, burned out, and broken; mentally, physically, and spiritually. It happens.

In order to serve God to our fullest, we need a day to wind down. Even God, who spoke life into existence, rested. We might wonder how He could be tired. Did He actually need to rest. No. God is God. But He gave us our first example. An example of rest.

Jesus took time for rest as well. He was there at the beginning with God and later He came to us in human form. He gave us examples of rest throughout His ministry. God was in human form and Jesus felt the challenges of life on the body and spirit. So He rested.

When we think of giving ourselves a timeout, a vacation, or a day spent alone, we often feel guilty. I know I do. But that’s not God making us feel that way. There is another power that walks this earth who never rests. He works diligently and endlessly to attack our mind by filling it with self-doubt, among other things contrary to God’s love for us. He wants us to fail. He wants us broken. Don’t let him win.

Take the time you need to regroup. Use downtime to put things in godly perspective, not for selfish gain. Heal your mind and body. Connect with God. Just rest. Do what you can during your busy days, but find moments or days to completely rest. I will work on this myself…and not feel guilty.

Today, Sunday, is a perfect day to find rest. Hopefully, this week we can manage both time and rest.

Be grateful and keep God close. ♥️

Andi

Time

I’ve been having a daily devotion with a friend of mine on YouVersion. Today we were given a great example of time. Well, time and priorities.

The example includes three parts; a bucket, rocks, and sand. The bucket represents time. The rocks represent our most important priorities. The sand is all the extra stuff that fills our time.

It is your responsibility to fit everything in the bucket of time. First, maybe you pour all the sand into the bucket. Then you try to get the rocks to fit. But they don’t fit no matter how hard you pack that sand. You know, all the fun stuff. The extra stuff. The time consuming stuff.

So…you start over.

You remove the sand. Next you place all the things of greatest priority, the rocks, into the bucket. Then you pour in the sand. The sand fills in all the spaces, nooks, and crannies. And, waalaa…it all fits.

Prioritizing your time wisely will hopefully allow time for the tough stuff and the fun stuff. This is something I must work on.

Time. How do we use it? It certainly is valuable. I know I’ve wasted hours, days, months and I cannot get a single minute back.

How’s your bucket of time looking? Maybe this would be a great focus for the new week. ♥️

Andi

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love coffee. I once drank as often as Lorelai Gilmore at Luke’s Diner. I have since calmed down a bit. But I still love it.

I’ve tried all kinds. StarBucks blonde pour-over. Door County. Dunkin’ Donuts. Off-the-beaten path cafe coffees. Jamaican Blue Mountain. Costa Rican. Italian espresso. Organic. Currently, I drink the German Roast coffee from Aldi’s.

As of late, I’ve been adding cinnamon to the coffee grounds. It tastes a bit like fall and that is comforting to me. I have the coffee pot set to brew at 6:00 am every morning. Once brewed, I add stevia and a touch of butter.

But what makes coffee even better is the cup in which it’s served. When purchasing a coffee cup, no matter how much I like the cup, it has to fit my hand just right or I won’t buy it. The weight of it must be perfectly balanced.

Drinking coffee is certainly a special part of my day. Especially when I share it with you.

The title of this blog, Coffee with Andi, means something to me. I hope you find it a blessing.

Enjoy your next cup with me…here. ♥️

Andi

That Special Someone

~~A friend loves at all times.~~

Praise God for providing that special someone in your life who lovingly walks behind you…steadying you, picking up your broken pieces, pushing you, holding you up, and gluing you back together.

Ecclesiastes 4:10
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!

Praise God for that special someone who works quietly behind your scenes, prays for you, lifts you up, and listens…yet desires no recognition or anything in return. That is a true friend.

Praise God for that special someone who listens without judgement and whose advise is taken easily.

I took these pictures of banyan trees in Florida last year. I found these trees to be quite enchanting. Prop roots grow from the branches downward to the earth and become pillars of support for the heavy branches. They reminded me of the special people in my life who support me when life becomes too heavy to bear.

At the time of these photos, I was in Florida for my father’s last days. Life just couldn’t get any heavier than that. And I had a special prop friend who held me up.

1 John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

I am grateful for the special people in my life. I am blessed. I hope I am a special someone to others as well. ♥️

Andi

~~Proverbs 17:17a~~

HOPE

I cannot imagine a life without Jesus. A life without hope. I know sometimes my life may not reflect the wholesomeness of a Christlike spirit but that is the reason Jesus came to us; to make us perfect through our sinful imperfections. He shed His blood and rose from the dead to seal this promise. Only we can break it.

HOPE. I cannot fathom how lonely this walk would be without God. Even at my lowest times or my greatest distances from Him, He never leaves my mind, or my heart. When no one seems present in my life, He is ever-present. His love is great.

There is hope. A hope of something far greater than what this life will ever offer us. The hope of Heaven.

Happy Easter, my friends. 💕☀️🌸

Andi

Genesis 1:27

We live in a world that is currently hell-bent on forcing sexual perversion upon our littles. The forces are great, but our God is greater.

God’s will is for us to protect the innocent hearts of our children. Stand up to the plate.

Praise God for truth. Praise God for answers. ♥️

Andi

The Mean Sisters

We thought we were the good children in our families. The good sisters. Turns out we were a tad bit mean.

I had a wonderful visit with a couple of girlfriends with whom I grew up with on Bonnie Brook Lane. They are sisters, traveling together, and they stopped by my place for the night. I haven’t seen the younger sister, Julie, since I was 16 and she was 14. Um…I’ll do the math for you. That was back in 1977.

Chris is one of my dearest friends. We have not lost a single step in our friendship even though there are years and years between visits. She’ll forever be one of my most favorite people. Chris has a nurturing and loving spirit. And she truly loves God.

Chris and me visiting our hometown

We were reflecting upon our young years the other night. She mentioned something about herself that was exactly how I have been feeling about my own self. We both thought that we were the good sister in our families.

I didn’t realize how mean I was until I started going through some of my old diaries from when I was in my teens. Wow…I was upset with my sister a lot. For someone who believed they were the good one there were an awful lot of bad things written on paper. Colorful words, dark words, lots of large scribbled adjectives…obviously written in anger. Words that I would have never uttered out loud. I was a writer of sorts way back then. I’m not particularly proud of that though.

My heart sank when I read them.

As I reflect on those days, I realize that not only was I was angry, I was hurting. Hurt that my sister had something that I did not. My dad’s heart. Not that he didn’t love me. He did in his own way, I guess. I was just so very different from him. He couldn’t love me the same. And their relationship was very hard to watch as a young, impressionable little girl. I took it out on her.

Still, at the time, I thought I was the good sister.

When Chris shared her reflection of her early years as an older sister, I realized how distorted our views can become by things we want to believe. Although, I never looked at Chris as being mean, ever, she believes she was. And only she knows that truth. At the time, while living in that time, she believed she was good. Just as I thought I was good. Looking back is sometimes hard.

But, if you can look back and see truth, that speaks volumes. It means that there has been growth. Growth is good. Reflection is good. Asking for forgiveness makes it even better.

I was mean to my sister in subtle ways. I did little things to get back at her. I don’t need to go into detail because it doesn’t matter. What does matter is my acknowledgment that I was wrong. Regardless of the hurt I was feeling, I should have, could have, been a better sister. I know Chris feels the same about her early relationship with Julie.

Life is just full of surprises. With age, you realize that all the more. We need to be ever-present in the now and be ever-mindful of how we act and react. Today, Chris and I both are the good sisters we thought we once were. That’s the positive of this story.

Me and my sista ♥️

I had a wonderful visit with my friends. Getting to know Julie on an adult level was both enlightening and a blessing.

Thanks for reading my posts and sharing your comments and likes with me. I appreciate you. ♥️

Andi

Coping

I love it when people question my ability to cope with life. Actually…I don’t love it. It’s true about walking in someone else’s shoes. They really don’t fit.

So maybe I do often wear my heart on my sleeve. At least I don’t hold everything in. I believe what I share may help others to know they are not alone in what they feel and go through in life. A connection. We are very much the same even with our differences. But, truthfully, I don’t share everything. Nor, do I want to.

No one has a clear understanding of the inner workings that make me, me. Well, actually a couple of brave souls have dared to venture into this colorful but wildly chaotic Gemini brain of mine and I felt/ feel safe with them being there. But I certainly don’t pretend to understand the deepest depths of those around me either. We just assume…and we judge.

Like a great many people, I too have suffered much loss in my life. Loss of situations, relationships, and life. No one completely understands my anguish or survival methods for dealing with loss. But that’s okay. I only ask that you don’t criticize me or think less of me because I don’t bleed externally for you to see. I bleed on the inside. 

No one suffers the same.

My loss includes friends from high school and so many others along the way. I have suffered romantic love losses too. Loves who have passed away and a couple who still walk this earth. Through death, I’ve lost those who have been the closest to me. And then there are a few whom I love deeply, but have chosen to walk away. That’s stinking hard.

I never turn to drugs or alcohol to get through the hard times. No, I feel every bit of the pain. And I still feel the intensity of each loss. I never felt I had to choose a way to get through. Like through a bottle. The choice for me naturally found me. I think and I write. Then I cry and I sleep. Then I think and I write some more. It works for me.

I feel everything deeply. Believe me, there’s nothing minor in my world. But I cope in my own way as you cope in yours. Sometimes we do get stuck and need help from others or professionally. There’s no shame in that. I’ve often said we need to listen to what someone is not saying. But because I might deal with life’s sorrows differently from you doesn’t mean I am not coping.

I do have a tendency to forget things too. I guess maybe it’s some type of protective mechanism inside my brain, or centered in my heart. When reminded of a painful situation, I often cannot recall it. Not until that person continues to share detail after detail do I begin to remember. Then I have a difficult time removing it from my thoughts. That will bring me down. So please don’t do that.

Is it necessary to continually hash out the past? I really don’t think so. The wound never scars over if it’s reopened time and time again. The idea is to let go and not allow yourself to be snared by that again. It’s called moving on for a reason. Learning, growing, and striving for a better, healthier life. Forgetting things that hold you back. Forgiving yourself.

Coping. Choose the most positive and productive ways to combat the pain, the evil, and the sorrow on this earth. It’s very individual. But always center around God who gives us the hope of a better tomorrow.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I certainly love the book of Philippians.

Begin this new week with a confidence that God’s love and strength can lift you to higher ground. ♥️

Andi

Photos: a Jamaican sunset, August 3, 2016

Sameness

The other day, I watched a video of men at the border of two countries. (No. Not our southern border. I cannot bear to see that atrocity any longer.) What I saw were civilian men having to remove their shirts at a checkpoint. Most of the men were about my age. Some were a little younger. I could not understand their language but yet I could understand them. And when I saw them standing there shirtless, adorned with their dad bods, it hit me that we are all the same. Regardless of where we live, what language we speak, what color our skin is, what our beliefs are, we are the same. We want the same. Our bodies are the same. We bleed the same. And we love the same.

So why is it so difficult to get along? Why aren’t we content with peace over control? With freedom over control? With love over control?

We have one life to live on this earth. One simple, short life.

Why is control used to divide us? Why is it used to make us hate each other? Our families are divided. Our neighborhoods are divided. Our streets are divided. Our country is divided. And not just in half. It’s divided on many levels. A sure sign of weakness because we cannot stand together in strength.

So who loses? Who are the winners? And why have we allowed ourselves to become game pieces for the control seekers? We need to wake up. There are no winners in this stupid game.

We are the same. For the majority of people who walk this earth, we want to live our lives simply and with dignity. Is that too much to ask?

Clocks by Coldplay. There is a verse that I reflect upon often. I think it’s an important concept in life.

Confusion that never stops
Closing walls and ticking clocks
Gonna come back and take you home
I could not stop that you now know
Singin’ come out upon my seas
Cursed missed opportunities
Am I a part of the cure
Or am I part of the disease?

I want to be a part of the cure.

Truly the only answer to winning is not established on this earth.

Philippians 3:13,14
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 5:12a
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven…

Look for the sameness in each other. It’s really hard sometimes, I know. But no one is greater or less than the other. ♥️

Andi

My Dad: The Most Influential Person of My Life

One year ago today, at 12:23 pm, my dad was taken off life support after six hellish weeks of being poked, prodded, intubated, tested, and drugged. At 12:30 pm, he was pronounced deceased. It took a mere 7 minutes to go from life to death. With every breathe he struggled to take on his own, I was hoping praying it would be enough to jar his body back into living. It was not to be.

All the I’m sorry’s and let’s start overs and I love you’s were gone forever.

After he passed, my sister and my dad’s wife left the room. I stayed with Dad for awhile and in anguish, washed his face with my tears. I couldn’t get close enough. I couldn’t say I love you enough. I couldn’t say I’m sorry enough.

My father was a complicated man. And while I consider myself to be simply complex, we lived on opposite ends of the spectrum. We sparred often. Then we’d come back together for a moment or two. But it was never long before the gloves came out again.

Through it all, through all the good and the bad, no one on this earth has influenced my life more than my dad. Even through this year without him, he remains a very strong presence in my life. Every. Single. Day.

I hear him scold me. I hear him praise me. I feel him grab my hand like he would do when we walked together. No words spoken. Just reaching for my hand was all I needed to know. I cherish those moments.

My dad taught me things that I didn’t understand at the time but are becoming clearer as my life goes on. Right or wrong, he never pushed us kids to be successful. He pushed us to be happy. If something wasn’t right, fix it. And he knew not to wait on life to happen. Dad went out and made it happen. He was strong like that.

Once upon a time, Dad wanted a horse, so he got one. We couldn’t keep Buck at our house so he was boarded. Once Buck was broke, Dad would ride him to our house. Dad and Buck eventually entered pole and barrel competitions. The announcers never got Dad’s or Buck’s name right. Okay, so our last name was easy to mispronounce, but how do you mess up Buck? “Denny Schwartz riding Buick!” The only name they ever got right was Denny.

Dad wanted to play the guitar, so he did. He focused on that until he conquered it. Then he moved to something else that intrigued him. He learned and moved on from one thing to another. Always dreaming, doing, learning, and growing. Such an inspiration in that respect.

I think one of his greatest conquests was the sea. After he and my mom divorced, Dad bought a sailboat and lived on the Atlantic for a couple of years. He had lived in Midwest USA for most of his life yet he went out and conquered the sea. Just him and a sailboat named Dire Straits. Dad even made it through the Perfect Storm. Not that he was directly in it but he was on the outskirts.

My dad was strong and determined, yet he was not without his own demons. Demons that created this complicated man and followed him through life. A pain we can only surmise knowing so little of his early life. It all died along with him so we will never completely understand him. At least not me.

Through all the anger and heartache in our troubled relationship, I wish he was still here. Maybe I could have tried harder to understand him. Maybe he could have been more compassionate toward our differences. Maybe…

What I do know is that my love for my dad runs tremendously deep. More-so than I ever imagined. His strength I will carry throughout the rest of my life. I will make life happen instead of waiting for life to come to me. That’s one of the best and most important lessons he ever taught me. I just need to let go of fear and apply it.

I truly miss my dad. ♥️

October 10, 1941 – March 29, 2021

Andi

Photos: 1) St. Pete Beach sunset; 2) Dad and me in Italy (I wear his necklace now.); 3-5) Dad and Buck; 6) the Dire Straits; 7) Dad in Italy; 8) my sister and me with Dad

My dad….a little Colonel Sanders, a little mafia, and a little Einstein. 😊

♥️♥️♥️

T R O U B L E

John 16:33
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Jesus didn’t say we might have trouble. He stated a fact. “You will have trouble.” And boy, do we ever.

We have struggles in our personal lives compiled with serious troubles in our world. It’s no wonder people are sad, depressed, angry, short-fused, and hurting. So many things are outside of our control.

But through it all, as tough as things are, God has given us His written word filled with encouragement, strength, direction, love, and hope.

If you are unfamiliar with the Bible, maybe begin reading in the book of Psalms. God knows our struggles. We have struggled since the beginning of time. Psalms is a good place to start to find encouragement.

A sunshiny day helps to lift spirits as well. God knew what we need and He gave us tools/ gifts outside of the Bible to help our inner being to be strong and healthy. When you think about it, we spend much of our lives indoors away from natural light and clean air. When you think of people long ago, actually, not so long ago, they spent more time outside than in. So many of God’s gifts are found outdoors.

Begin this new week encouraged that trouble doesn’t have to define us. We can rise above the turmoil to find peace in God and in His promise that the messes here on earth do not have to be our end.

God is hope. ♥️

Andi

Take Me Back to the Start

The Scientist. Coldplay. This song means much to me. I’m sitting in my car on this cold morning listening to my special playlist of Keane, Coldplay, and Jack Johnson when this song came on…and so this post was born.

The first time I heard The Scientist was when my second oldest made a music video for a school project using this song. It featured my children, namely my youngest son, who starred in a series of short films as Melvin. So many years ago.

Take me back to the start. The start of everything.

Take me back to my early family life in Waukegan. So much learning took place in those years. I have much to learn yet.

Take me back to my high school years. I have unfinished business there.

Take me back to my gold rocker where I held my babies and sang made-up songs. Many hours I sat in that chair even after bellies were filled and sleep took hold. I rocked and rocked. Holding them tight.

Take me back to the woods to my crying log. Not enough tears were shed. Not enough prayers were said. Not enough sins confessed.

Take me back to my parents’ arms.

Take me back to the happy gatherings of my children. I long to watch them interact. I long to overhear their conversations. I long to hear their laughter.

Take me back to my running days. To the woodsy trails where I found so much peace.

Take me back to my first drive to St. Joe when I got lost in time and immersed in my music.

Take me back to early morning walks in the woods I once owned where poetry was inspired.

Take me back to Chelle.

Take me back to lost loves.

Just take me back. ♥️

Andi

A Unique Sunset

Friday night is date night with my daughter. We do stuff like an old married couple. Out to dinner and then shopping. But we enjoy this time together. When we walked out of a store and into the parking lot, I could not help but notice the awesome sky. It was so unique. I drove to my favorite sunset viewing spot to take these pictures.

The horizon looked as though explosions were taking place. As I was watching the largest “explosion”, all of a sudden the clouds parted and another smaller explosion quickly burst into view just to the right of it. It was so awesome to watch.

I hope you enjoy this sunset. It was awe inspiring to witness it. It was windy and cold and I had to cross water and mud to get the best pics. I accidentally locked my daughter out of the car while I traipsed through mud to reach the farm field to get pictures without overhead lines in them. She was insinuating that I wasn’t acting my age and that I was acting like a teenager. Well, okay…what can I say? I get excited. I’ll accept that. I love the sky and I’ll probably do this again. And again. 🙂

Have a great weekend! ♥️

Andi

The Sky: An Ever-Changing Masterpiece

Psalm 19:1
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

I went to my usual get-a-way at lunch today. It doesn’t matter what the weather is, I will enjoy the beauty of this park. The grass. The trees. The frog songs coming from the wooded pathway. The birds soaring high above me in the sky. The sky. God’s amazing, ever-changing masterpiece.

Today, the sky changed quickly. I stood outside my car and watched as the heavy clouds moved in layers above me. Shades of grays and blues. Some almost black. The earth would darkened and lighten. When I turned around to look behind me, the clouds were the brightest white and the sky was an awesome, crystal blue.

Ever since the initial Covid lockdown, I became more intrigued with the heavens. Since we really didn’t understand all that was truly happening at the time, we abided by the “rules” and stayed home. My girls and I spent much time on the deck out back where I did a lot of sky dazing. The world seemed so quiet. It reminded me of the days following 9/11. No planes were in the air. Everyone felt the pain. Our world was very quiet then too.

I walked about the circle drive at the park and took in the fresh air, which got colder the closer the dark clouds got to me. I didn’t mind. I took several pictures of the changing sky. I know the sky is sometimes unforgiving but realizing the crystal blue is always just above the clouds gives me peace.

I hope you, too, find peace in God’s handiwork. ♥️

Andi

Find Your Focus

Psalm 119:37
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.

I left FaceBook over a year ago. I downloaded all my information and it was “Ciao, baby!”

I left for many reasons. For one, I didn’t appreciate that I was called out for being a bully which went against Facebook guidelines. I’m not a bully nor was I one one in this circumstance. I made a comment on a post. I misused the word affect which should have been effect. Or, the other way around. I can’t remember. A woman by the name of Linda Flowers kept commenting on that error and wouldn’t let up. She wasn’t commenting on the content of my thought, only on the misuse of a word. I corrected the word and she continued to badger me about its misuse and then made fun of me for changing it. I do believe that there are those, especially on political and/ or controversial posts, who intentionally try to stir things up and cause problems. They are called trolls for a reason. They troll comments to purposely cause problems. I called her out on it and suggested she was a troll. Almost immediately, she reported me. I was sent a message by Facebook about their guidelines concerning harassment and bullying. They said I could appeal my guilty status and that it would take a couple of days for a response. I clicked on “appeal” and instantly received a response that my appeal had been reviewed and I was found to be guilty of harassment and bullying. I mean it was instant. Not even a second from when I submitted my appeal. Yeah

Facebook isn’t the same as it was when it first started. Or, is it? I believe it was set up for failures like this and to be used as a censoring platform. It is a tool (my opinion) for entities more powerful than us and has been all along. These people knew from day one the power behind social media. They aren’t stupid people. And as in everything controversial, follow the money.

But in line with my scripture verse this morning, I spent way too much time in front of Facebook. Time I really didn’t have to waste but I did. It consumed me. If I posted something I would constantly check for likes and comments. Then it only got worse when the election, Covid, and January 6th all took place. I lost friends and some family to the controversy. I listened to them but they didn’t want to hear my point of view. All of this turmoil made Facebook even more addicting. I found myself swallowed up in a great amount of negative which greatly affected/ effected my personal life. (You pick the right word. 😊)

I waved the white flag and surrendered.

I tell you what, it was quite liberating. Finally, I removed my Instagram app from my phone because I’m not sure how to delete my account. Instagram had become my new Facebook and it had to go as well.

Sometimes we need to let go of things that are in our face constantly. Too much negative can have detrimental affects/ effects on us. (I’m beginning to hate those two words.) The Bible tells us what to keep before us.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

This doesn’t mean we should avoid controversy or hide from the news, but our focus needs to be on pure things. This will keep our minds and bodies in a healthier state of being. Whatever your focus is on, your mind will become that.

Find your focus. Clean it up if necessary and discard what is useless and/ or harmful. Be grateful for beautiful things. Focus on what is pure. ♥️

Andi

My newest granddaughter, Juneau. 😍

There’s No Learning in Easy

My youngest daughter and I took Nyx for a walk on this lovely Sunday afternoon. For most of this day, I’ve been going through my jewelry, trinkets, and keepsakes; sorting and pitching as I go. There have been a lot of journeys down memory lane. Happy and sad journeys. Much of what I have is from loved ones who are no longer here. So I just needed a break.

Nyx’s favorite thing is running. So if no one was present in any direction, I would unleash her and let her have some fun. She never goes far from me though. She’s a one-person dog. That person being me. She suffers from separation anxiety so she needs to be near.

As we walked, Mattea and I laughed a lot at this crazy dog of mine. We talked a lot too. Walking is always a special time for us. We have each other’s full attention. No distractions. Well, except for Nyx who is trying to grab a tree root to play fetch with, or dragging a huge limb into the pathway.

We talked about several things. Mostly, she vented about how hard life is. And I agree. It is hard. And it doesn’t get any easier as life goes on. I simply told her: there’s no learning in easy.

There really is no learning in easy. Learning and growing. That’s what we do from birth until death. It builds character. It molds and shapes us into better, more compassionate people. Or, it should anyway. I do know those who never seem to learn and have remained in an immature state of mind. Often, they are angry people who do not play well with others.

Be grateful things aren’t always easy. Rejoice when you find a patch of peace. Pray for relief when life just seems to be too much. Love those who come to your aid during hardship. I know I am blessed with those who care.

Have a great new week. And if you have a chance, go for a walk with a loved one. Enjoy conversation with each other without distraction. Well, unless you have your own Nyx to entertain you along the way. ♥️

Andi

Psalm 69:5

O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.

God knows all and He deals with us accordingly. In the Old Testament, there are many examples of how God dealt with His people as individuals and as a whole. Today we are a scattered people throughout the world. He still deals with us accordingly. Being a child of God is not a free pass to anywhere.

I know my sin.

Psalm 51:3
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

But should another human being keep dragging me through muck of my indiscretions because they haven’t moved on? How many times do I need to apologize to flesh and blood for something God forgave me decades ago? I made wrong decisions. I made made bad choices. Who hasn’t? A thousand I’m sorry’s has meant zero to this individual. I cannot give any more as apologies fall on deaf ears. I owe this person nothing more. But the endless badgering continues…

Proverbs 3:5-7
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.

I know right from wrong. I try to do right. Have I always? No. But neither has anyone. Living according to our own wisdom usually doesn’t go well. The key is to love God, trust His wisdom, and keep on trying. My sin is ever before me because I do not forget like God does with forgiveness. But I certainly do not need constant reminders from another that I am a sinner. I want peace.

Matthew 5:44. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you ♥️

Andi

Photo: credit goes to my son, Jet. Jamaica 2016

TRUTH

I tell you there is nothing greater than truth, yet nothing is harder to find.

I believe that we are so overrun with untruth that we will never find truth again on this earth or in our lifetime.

I’m not talking about our close intimate relationships, although those can be tough challenges as well. I’m referring to our government and all of the offices, departments, and agencies within. I’m talking about the far-left but also some of those who claim to be right. I’m talking about world leaders and governments as well. Will we ever know the truth? Or, have we dug a hole so deep and intertwined years of lies so tightly that no one living today could possibly untangle all the hidden secrets, missions, and agendas. How could one person ever be able to grasp it all and be able to relay that information to the rest of us? The complexity of our life today will never be understood. Opinions vs science vs truth, etc., we live in chaos, and nothing seems real anymore.

The lies and untruth that bombard us daily is the purest of evil. When a lie is continually repeated, we begin to believe the lie as truth. The media is doing just that. How so many people can stick together with their lies and deceit is beyond my comprehension. Shame on them. I wish them sleepless nights.

But I will tell you this. On my way home from work, I caught a view that was beyond beautiful. So beautiful that I had to turn around and find a place to stop just so I could take it in. I took several photos (I can never take just one) and every time I look at these pictures, guess what I see? I see TRUTH. I see God’s truth. And thankfully no one can rob us of that. Not the left or the right. Not someone’s opinion. Not even the media. TRUTH.

God is TRUTH.

He was. He is. He will always be…TRUTH.

Bury yourself in God’s truth. Remove your presence from the megaphone of life that spews out hatred, lies, and deceit and find comfort in the heavens above. Look up to see God’s truth. He is never too far away. ♥️

Andi

A Peaceful Protest

I am very passionate about many things. For one, I love this country and all that it stands for. I can’t really give financially to the many issues that need support so I try be supportive with prayer, participation, or by simply being a presence.

I believe we have a right to peacefully protest. Much of what happened last year was not peaceful. Certain groups were able to destroy cities, livelihoods, and sadly, took lives of innocent people who tried to protect what was theirs…all while falsely labeled as peaceful by those who hate.

The People’s Convoy is headed to DC and it is a peaceful protest. It stopped near me for a peaceful rally last week. I wasn’t able to attend the event which was overflowing with supporters but I was able to greet another link of the convoy on Saturday morning.

Whether you are vaccinated or not, or choose to wear a mask or not, everyone should be fighting for the right to make our own choices. Making our own choices gives us dignity. Strip us of our dignity and we become pawns to the elite and no longer viewed as an individual human being. This peaceful convoy is representing all of us who believe in our constitutional right to make our own health care choices.

As I stood on an overpass waiting for the convoy to come through, myself and several others waved at the traffic below. Some of the group waved the American flag while others secured large flags over the rail of the bridge. It was a beautiful sight really.

Trucks blew their horns. Cars honked their’s. People waved to us inside their vehicles and out of their windows and sunroofs. Many drivers gave us the peace sign. It was great.

There were four drivers though who shocked me. They gave us the finger. One gave us a thumbs down. And I have to ask why? I consider them to be those who probably don’t play well with others. Is it because they hate the condition of the country? Do they despise the decisions made by the man in office? Or, do they feel we should submit and conform?

I do not associate the American flag with our current administration. The flag represents all the things that this administration does not. The flag is bigger, better, and stronger than they are because of all of us who peacefully stand, unified, for the rights of the people and all that our country was founded on. This administration seriously falls short. But that is their agenda. We the people are stronger.

So why would anyone want to flip us off? Do they hate our country that much? I do not understand. But…in all fairness, it is their right to express their feeling. I just don’t feel it was in an appropriate manner. If you have that much anger inside that you have to flip someone off who is smiling and waving an American flag at you, I will question your reasoning. And maybe even feel sorry for you. Maybe.

Shame on those who give the finger to our flag and our country. Maybe visiting another country would open their eyes to the blessings, dreams, and possibilities of living in the United States of America and under the U.S. Constitution.

Pray for our country like your life depends on it because, honestly…it does. ♥️

Andi

A March Morning

Sunday, March 6, to be exact.

I can never sleep in. I laid in bed for over an hour wishing myself back to sleep. It just doesn’t happen. So I got out of bed before 7:00 and let Nyx out while I made coffee.

I noticed the night storm tossed my trash can into the road. The beat up trash can that my trash company was to replace a couple weeks ago. I suppose their company is no different than anyone else’s…can’t get, or keep, help. So I’m trying to be patient.

I slipped on our old beater crocs (Mattea and I share them) and went out with Nyx to retrieve the trash can. It rained last night so the smell of the country air was amazingly fresh. The temp was a balmy 62. The warmest morning of the year so far. The young woman in me stirred with excitement of a spring quickly approaching, and of her many dreams…

I set the trash can upside down at the end of my driveway. Maybe this will be the week they replace it. Nyx was happy to have me to herself and outside. I decided it was too nice to go in just yet, so I sat on my porch swing. And she laid down beside me.

I watched the lower grey clouds move swiftly to the east revealing lighter shades of clouds above them. I heard birds. Lots of them. All of them singing their love songs. There was one lonely morning dove though who spoke to my heart. Change is in the air.

I love my front porch. I miss my trees though because along with them went my family of woodpeckers. They were fun to watch and listen to. One seemed to always scold the other. I assumed it was the misses who would go on the daily rants.

Nyx got up and walked around. The moment was uncomfortably strange to me. Who is this new dog standing in my almost treeless yard? Where is my beloved Herc and our beautiful Amber? Where are my trees? I had walked past a fire pit that is rarely lit and through a yard that yearns for frisbee throwing and the laughter of my children. Strange how all of these are just memories now.

The young woman in me dreams of wonderfully exciting things…but sadly, outside of her reality. I guess that’s okay in a way as dreaming keeps you young. But the older woman is going to have to step in and tweak a few things.

Change is in this March morning air. It makes me sad to know that another era is swiftly coming to a close. It was a short era of eight years. I finally admit that this place is more than I can handle and I’m finally waving the white flag. I need to get on the serious path of letting this place go and figure out my next move. This is a scary and sad time for me. I’m so torn. Maybe once I get through the hard part of decision making, I can begin a new era of making new memories filled with happiness. Change is in the air.

It’s a melancholy March morning. But it’ll be alright. I’ll be alright. This is how the wind blows in life. Always changing speed and direction. Nothing stands still for long.

It’s time for a second cup of coffee and some much needed time with God. I did lean on the Helper more this past week. And He was a great help to me. I will lean on Him evermore as I walk into unknown territory.

Have a blessed new week, my friends. ♥️

Andi

Photo: a Jamaican sunset, 2016

The Helper

Helper. What does that make you think of? First thing I thought of was Hamburger Helper. I grew up on that stuff. I guess that box of ingredients helped the hamburger taste yummier. Not to mention it was quick and easy.

Then there’s a movie called “The Help”. A very good story, with very good advice on not to upset the help. The help just might make you a special pie.

The Bible speaks of a help-meet. This was actually my purpose in life. And I accepted it with gratitude. My greatest fulfillment in this life was in the home raising my children and caring for my husband.

But as time has moved on and drastically changed, I find myself in a place of confusion, loneliness, visionless, and quite frankly, feeling broken. I’ve become distant from God even though I know I need Him. Why is it that when everything is going great I praise God more, pray more, read more? Why is it when I need Him most, I close myself off to Him? I just don’t understand me.

I have pushed all of my spiritual learning out of my mind and replaced God’s power with my own wisdom. Well, how’s that going for you, Andi? Um…not so very good.

Well, I need to change this vicious cycle. I need God. I have no significant other to rely on to help me through this life. I’m not denying the value in friendships or with my children. But they have families of their own to focus on. I don’t have anyone who shares the same intimate details of this life to where we would work together as a unit. If that makes sense.

This morning I was looking for encouraging scripture to combat the defeat that has now overshadowed my life. I had to look no further than the daily devotional email I received this morning. The Helper.

John 16:7
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

Jesus explains that the Helper, meaning the Holy Spirit, is pretty important and almost suggests that the Helper is more important than Him.

I think it’s about time to really consider the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within me. How much more personal can that be?

The Helper. He will only help if I allow Him to. I think I will finally open myself to Him.

This is a good day. ♥️

Andi

Photos: my Jamaican pics, August 2016

You Don’t Have To Feel It…

My kids…how I love them. When they are happy, I am happy. When they are sad, my heart breaks. Whatever they feel, I feel. And intensely. I still worry about their needs. Are they fed and warm? Are they making good decisions and choices? Are they feeling loved?

I cannot turn the mom in me off. I’m more mom than anything else. So much so, that I don’t know who I am outside of that role.

Discouragement sorta followed me into this new week. I tried not to allow it, but realistically I cannot control outside forces. The issues of last week are still ever present in this week.

This morning my son, Ezekiel, greatly encouraged me through text.


Ezekiel: Have a good day ❤️

Me: You too, love ❤️

Ezekiel: You’re a wonderful mom ❤️

Me: I don’t feel like it.

Ezekiel: You don’t have to feel it in order for something to be true.

Me: ♥️

What a beautiful way to start my morning. His words softened my soul. I need to be grounded.

You don’t have to feel it in order for it to be true. ♥️

Andi