I was scrubbing my bathroom sink with my long-time friend, Bar Keepers Friend, to get the orange tint off from around the drain. I wondered, Really? Does anyone else have to do this? Am I the only one who has to scrub their sink?
When I was a young girl my mom would wash our hair at the kitchen sink. She’d use the sprayer to get my hair wet and then lather it up with shampoo. I remember how embarrassed I was that my mom did this. Not that my mom was washing my hair, but that no one else washed their hair. I was the only one. I was sure of it.
One day this spring I needed to mow my yard. Between the eight trees that were dropped and those darn moles, my yard is a lumpy, bumpy mess. My mower didn’t cut even. The blades dug into the ground too and once it actually shaved off the grass into a neatly rolled piece of sod. While I’m trying to pull wet, muddy gunk out from under the deck I’m wondering…am I the only one?
Tonight didn’t end well for me at work. Customer service took its toll when I had to hang up on an irate customer. Then on my way home I was almost rear ended by a woman who didn’t see I was stopped at a red light and she slammed on her brakes. She blew her horn at me as if I was the one who did something wrong. I looked to see if I could turn on red. Yep. I looked and it was clear so I turned right. That woman turned too and almost rear ended me again, still blaring her horn. I was embarrassed even though I did nothing wrong. Am I the only one?
To ice this cake of humiliation, just before I made it home, I hit two very large, beautiful butterflies who were flying side by side enjoying a cooler evening. My heart hurt.
My parents died. My Chelle died. I’ve lost so many others whom I loved. I’m still mourning the losses.
Am I the only one?
Am I really the only one who has to do miserable chores, who gets embarrassed, and who suffers?
No. And living with that tunnel vision is a pretty sorrowful way to live.
Everyone cleans their sink and even the toilet. Everyone brushes their teeth and even washes their hair. Everyone has a car that breaks down or a furnace that quits working. Everyone has a loved one who passes away. We have a tendency to think that while we are doing something we do not want to do or going through something painful that everyone else is living the dream. Untouched. Unscathed. And we despise that idea. The idea that others are free.
I wonder if Jesus ever thought, Am I the only one? Probably many times during His ministry here upon the earth. Maybe He felt He was the only one when His disciples slept as He wept for them in prayer.
We all have problems. Some have more, some less, but we all struggle in this life. The only real difference is that my problems are mine and yours are yours. So that which is in your procession can seem bigger than life and make you question, Am I the only one?
Truth is…no, you are not. Nor am I.
Just because we don’t see what goes on in other’s lives, doesn’t mean they are free from the burdens of this life.
Don’t let the thought bury you. I know it’s hard to do at times because I feel this often. It’s hard not to get caught up in self-pity. I have this tendency to feel that life is moving on without me while I scour the rust out of my sink.
Even though we are very different, we are probably more alike than we realize. I hope that if you are feeling despair you realize now that you are not alone. And also that the grass is never greener elsewhere than it is in your own backyard. No one lives quite as carefree as you may think.
Ten years ago I was with my father at his home in Casoli, Italy. When he asked me to visit him there I readily said yes. Casoli is in the Province of Chieti in the region of Abruzzo.
My dad fell in love with Italy as it is part of our heritage. His mother’s family was from Naples and we have family from Sicily as well. What made him decide to actually buy a home there, I do not know exactly. But I’m glad he did.
Flying to Italy was no easy task for me as the thought of flying over water was terrifying. Thankfully, the flight was overnight. I tried not to think of the depth of darkness below me. I flew into Rome in the morning hours where Dad was waiting for me. We then drove about three hours to the east coast through the most beautiful Italian countryside.
For two and a half weeks I called Casoli my home. The village is very very old but so gorgeous. Window boxes of flowers and narrow, cobblestone streets welcomed me to this quaint little village.
Dad’s home is located at the very top of the mountain next to the Castello Masciantonio, a Renaissance castle. It is now a museum and Catholic Church. From my dad’s terrace, on a clear day you can see the Adriatic Sea about 15 miles away. Behind the castle is the snow-capped Majella mountain which I’ve heard, provides water to the village.
My bedroom window had only black metal bars. No glass or screen. There were wooden shutters to keep out the rain, snow, and cold. We were up high where the swallows flew. On my first afternoon there, I unpacked my belongings and then sat at the window.
I looked out over the roofs and cobblestone streets in the village below me. I could see hills and valleys lined with olive groves in the distance. Then I heard music. Beautiful music. A man was singing a most beautiful Italian song. Even though I believe it was a CD that someone was playing somewhere down below, it was so touching that I could have sat there forever, just listening. It filled the cobblestone alleys and wafted up to my window. It was peaceful, soothing, and ever-so romantic.
The village was clean and adorned with colorful flowers everywhere. The aroma of coffee, breads, and pizza filled the streets and alleys.
I visited a green house and found a florist as I walked around the village. That was interesting because at the time I worked for a florist.
In the evenings I observed small groups of daddies pushing strollers throughout the village. I found that to be a great indication of their dedication to family life. I was also intrigued by the old, unique doors that were everywhere. I have quite a picture collection of Italian doors.
Italians love to celebrate. And boy, they seem to find every reason to. I was able to observe a couple of fun events while there. The flower festival is quite a big deal. Everyone pitches in to lay flowers and colored sand in unique designs down the middle of the street from the Catholic church in the castle to the Catholic church at the bottom of the village. They start early in the morning and work all day to create this masterpiece. The “finale” is when the priest walks through the flowered path down to the church at the bottom. Many festivals are related to Catholicism but they all are immersed in color, such as with flowers and bright, colorful clothing.
I became friends with several of my father’s friends. Enio was my favorite. He has since passed away. He lived in Canada for a time in his life so I could communicate with him fairly well.
He took me on a tour through his ancient family wood shop. There he showed me a work bench that his family has used for 300 years. They made caskets, and I can’t remember what all else, but they eventually also owned the only hearse company in the village as well. Enio was such a pleasant man. I had always hoped to see him again. It just goes to show you that every minute counts in this life. I wish I had another minute with him. He became like family to me.
Of course, every town, city, and village has a unique person who stands out from the rest. Casoli has Melvis. I am not sure of his Italian name, but he combined it with Elvis. And that’s who he portrays.
From shoemakers, to bread bakers, to market owners, to jewelers, Casoli has just about everything. And most businesses close at noon only to reopen at 4:00 to complete the workday.
My dad and I drove to Pesaro on the Adriatic Sea one sunny day. It was a remarkable day. Even with my fear of water, I’d love to take a boat on a journey across the sea to Croatia and back again.
Throughout the cities and villages we visited were remnants of ancient life, left alone, and modern life built up in and around those structures. We saw the architectural beauty of old Catholic Churches with their ancient artifacts. Flowers of all kinds brightened every street. It was a lot to take in and I tried to absorb it all.
This was an adventure I shared with my dad. It wasn’t always easy being with there with him as we struggled with our relationship even there, but the adventure in Casoli was a once-in-a-lifetime dream. I definitely felt I experienced Italy being in a small village compared to a large touristy city…like Rome.
When it was nearing time to fly back to the states we spent my last three days in Rome. I can honestly say I did not like Rome on the first day. Dad’s wife took me to historical places (which is basically everywhere you look) and I began to love the city.
A highlight was seeing the Trevi Fountain, making wishes, and throwing coins back over me into the pool of water. Wishes and coins that were prepared in advance with the help of my adopted brother, Bruce. I kept them in a little draw-string bag. He helped to make this moment of wishes…magical.
And then there was Coliseum which brought tears to my eyes for all the Christian lives that ended there.
I’d like to believe there’s a possibility that this world will heal and it will become welcoming once again. I’d love to explore more of Italy.
Thanks for sharing a few of my memories of Italy and the time I had with my dad. So grateful he invited me to go. ♥️
Holding grudges. Have you ever thought of the ramifications of holding a grudge? Is it really harmless giving someone the silent treatment and ignoring them for a period of time? What’s the point? What do you expect to get from it?
When you think about it…holding a grudge is silent revenge. And it is most certainly not harmless. Silence speaks volumes. It is a dagger to the heart. 💔
Revenge is when you have this strong desire to get back at someone. Holding a grudge is exactly that. Receiving the silent treatment, the squinty stares, and being shamed and/or excluded is painful. And the grudge holder absolutely knows this. That’s why they do this.
An example is my neighbor. He is holding a grudge against me. He is an angry young man who feels quite privileged in this life. I dealt with him a couple of years ago. He moved from the city to the country. He bought chickens, a rabbit, and two dogs. Since we live in a rural area he thought we neighbors would welcome his animals to roam freely through our yards. That was not how we felt. But it was wonderful to him to be living the country dream where everything roams freely. Right?!
His dogs were not taught boundaries as mine were. Mine were even used to going to his place because we were close with the neighbors that lived there prior. But it took only a short time to teach our dogs the boundary was no longer to be crossed.
My new neighbor had two dogs. One was an expensive $15,000 dog. A pretty smart dog too – if only he had a better, more compassionate owner. His dogs would come to my yard and attack my dogs. Numerous times this happened.
His chickens would roam my yard. My dogs would become stupid as they got caught up in the chase and forgot all boundaries. Not fair to my dogs. Their black and white rabbit ran loose too and lived in my yard which drove my dogs insane, as you can only imagine. That cute little bunny dug three trenches under my shed. Not so cute.
I approached this man numerous times to keep his animals home but to no avail. The police and animal control were called out many times. The man was mad at me because his little boy saw the police in the driveway talking to his daddy frequently. Not my fault. But he tried to make it my fault.
Long story short, he hung a dead chicken off my back porch. He told the police he did it. Nothing ever became of it. But he told some fantastical lies to the police. It was a threat to me. That’s how I viewed it. He’s a cruel man and I feel sorry for his wife and little ones.
The animal problem ended for the most part about three years ago after our last meeting with animal control. The girls and I are forgiving and we wave hi to him but he will turn his head away and ignore us. He is holding a grudge.
He knows that by doing so, it inflicts some kind of pain. Even if it’s just a little pain, he finds his revenge and enjoyment in that.
Holding grudges is unhealthy, mentally and physically. It takes a lot of energy to stay focused on meanness. You may think you have the upper hand in the relationship, and maybe you do to an extent. But is it really worth it? Life. Is. Short.
Now after these last couple of years of no communication, my neighbor sent me a mean text last night about my lawn guy crossing the line into his yard. Still holding onto that grudge, I see.
In my opinion this man has not endured enough hardship in his life for him to truly appreciate life and to distinguish what is really important and what is not. I know this. Because I was in that place once.
I might contact the guy who did the land survey a couple of years ago and show this young man that he is actually claiming my yard as his. I’m pretty sure he’s on my property.
Christians should never hold grudges. Either fix the issue or let it go. Knowing you are intentionally hurting someone by holding a grudge is wrong. Holding a grudge is the total opposite love. I have been on both sides of a grudge. It’s not pretty on either end.
Not sure what to do with my neighbor. I will think about this some more. Choose your battles wisely; what is important, and what is not.
I woke up this morning to a text that my son, Ezekiel, sent to me. It was beautifully written to say the least. I’d love to share it all here but it was written to someone in particular and that I must respect. My children are all blessed with the gift of writing and I couldn’t be more pleased. To be able to describe life and living or even story-telling in such detail is truly remarkable.
His words caused me to reflect on the friendships throughout my lifetime.
Friends come and go all through our lives. Some stay forever. Some leave this earth long before you were finished friendshipping. But all are a part of your story; a sentence, a chapter, or a permanent fixture in your book of life, and you are a part of theirs.
A thought from my 500th post works well here too.
When lives intertwine, there’s really no undoing that…ever.
A portion of Ezekiel’s text:
Every stage of life is a chapter in our personal book, written by our creator. So many adventures, experiences, laughs, and friendships. There are also times of challenge and struggle. But all can have a happy ending if we choose to follow Christ and learn from the dark times.
Characters in our pages come and go, though some remain in our story till the very end.
I don’t know the ending of my story nor do I know who will be there when the last sentence is written.
I have several beautiful friends in my life currently. I have been blessed with a few forever friends too. When a friend of mine, who was 30 years older than me, was near death, I realized how precious it was to be a part of his last chapter. We’d only know each other for about five years or so, but I was ever so grateful to know him late in life than earlier where maybe we would have parted ways for one reason or another.
After reading Zeke’s text, I thought of my new friend. I’ve only known Angie for a year and a half. She has a few nicknames, such as Miss Liberty and Sprinkles. But she is what I’d describe as my colorful friend. She beautiful, smart, and so witty. Her verbiage is the more colorful than the rainbow, but never vulgar or distasteful. I’m not sure how she manages to pull that off but she does.
Another one of her talents is that she can make me laugh hours later over a comment that was made at work, or through a text message, or a funny meme, or a TikTok video shared of a woman out on her beautiful deck all decorated with pumpkins and fall decor…in July! All I can say to that woman is…run! My Angie is not through with summer yet. My colorful friend.
I have many friends in my life who all mean something special to me. One hides in my shadows but always knows when I need him and I absolutely adore him. He’s my rock. I have longtime friends. We don’t see each often but the love remains strong. I have both male and female lifelong friends who never go away and who still manage to be written in almost every chapter of my life. I am blessed.
To all my friends: the ones I’ve had practically since my life began, to the ones I’ve loved deeply but parted ways for one reason or another, to the ones who are fairly new in my life, I leave you with this thought from Ezekiel’s text. It couldn’t be more fitting.
My heart tells me you aren’t just a secondary character. You’re not just a beautiful soul that blessed me for a short time and will vanish behind the turning pages.
And I will add:
If I’ve given you a piece of my heart along life’s way, you will never vanish from my story. Thank you for your beautiful addition to my life.
Have a blessed weekend. ♥️
Oh, and as a difficult as it may be, please refrain from any type of fall decor until at least September…please. Or my colorful friend might just hunt you down. 🍁🎃🍂
Tonight after I published my last post, I was notified that it was my 500th post. A huge milestone. Never have I dreamed I could write so much.
The strange thing though is that I don’t feel I’ve even started. This mind of mine is deep and intense. I feel everything and with great passion. Even with all that, I still feel I am lacking. Lacking personal fulfillment. I haven’t written enough. I haven’t explored, wandered, or adventured enough. I haven’t remembered enough. I haven’t loved or given of myself enough.
So I guess I will continue writing until such a time when I either feel fulfilled or when I simply can no longer put my thoughts and words together.
A milestone. 500 posts. 501 with this one.
If you don’t appreciate my posts, I thank you kindly for at least trying to hear me out. For those of you who have remained with me for all these 500 posts, I thank you with the deepest of gratitude. ♥️
PS I have thought of a title for a book I’d like to write. A title is a good start, don’t you think? Now to find the time….
I am cleaning and reorganizing my basement. In order to accomplish this I have to get rid of things. Sort, toss, donate, organize and store. This is particularly difficult when it comes to sorting through things that once belonged to loved ones. Those loved ones being Mom, Dad, and Chelle.
Besides the remarkable amount of pictures I have from each of them, I have trinkets, greeting cards, personal belongings, gifts, etc…
How do you pitch anything? Isn’t that like erasing them? I’m crushed with that thought.
I needed to think about how to address this huge task before me. I sat in the basement contemplating just what to do. There’s just so much stuff. This task seemed like an impossibility. I don’t want to lose them.
I began with Mom’s things. I looked through her huge totes of clothing, pictures, books, ID cards and badges from various places of employment, calendars noted with all her work hours and appointments, coffee mugs, things that belonged to her mother and grandmother, bibles, and writings – which include her endless handwritten lists, notes, reminders, quotes, and journals with all her many thoughts. (I knew right off I’d need to keep those.)
I asked myself…when I die, what would happen to each of these things?Would my children cherish them as I do? Probably not. Would they be tossed out without a second thought? Probably. But some things are still usableyet what good are they if left in a tote? Because my mom was the last to use it? And if I used it, I would erase everything meaningful about it? She, along with Chelle and my dad, would say…use it!
So I kept things out that I can use and donated what I know I won’t. For instance, I’m using my mom’s comb. I found it in an old purse of hers. I’ll use her note cards and stamps, although I will need to add a lot of extra postage. I wear her jewelry and cover with her blanket at night.
I did get rid of some hard things, like personalized sweatshirts that I made for her. They will never be worn again. They once served a purpose and she loved them. That will have to be enough. I just can’t store them only for my kids to dispose of later. I’m trying to make things easier for them for when my time comes.
This process has taken me a few weeks to do. Now their treasures, their lives, are condensed to one container each. I look at these and can’t help to feel sadness. Decades of life and living condensed to a single, plastic tote.
Maybe I just feel too damn much…
I guess what’s most important are the memories. And, for me, pictures are just that. When I look at a picture, I can remember. I remember particulars surrounding that moment. I remember how I felt. I feel the emotion. I feel the day. Pictures are probably the most valuable of all material things to me, along with thoughtful writings written by these special people.
Death is a part of life. I get it. But it’s painful. And it’s hard. And it’s most unenjoyable. I don’t want to forget and that’s a fear of mine.
When lives intertwine, there’s really no undoing that…ever.
I miss my mom. I miss my dad. I miss Chelle. I miss Taylor. I miss all those who’ve touched my heart deeply and then had to leave.
So tonight I’m going to enjoy my bourbon barrel blackberry wine as I relax on my front porch swing. The past weeks have stirred up many emotions. I’ll reflect on memories tonight as the sorting, donating, tossing, organizing, and storing are now complete.
My front porch swing is a little lonely tonight. Wishing any one of my loved ones was sitting beside me. ♥️
I never quite know when, or how, a topic to post will come about. It might be something I hear in passing, a special moment with a family or friends, a memory, a news report, a scripture verse, or an overwhelming feeling.
Today was no different. It hit me quite suddenly. I was sitting at my desk in my office. Day five of this workweek. I was not feeling well from something (or many things) that I ate last night. I was tired and feeling a little down. I felt distant from myself. It was a long week of customer service. After staring at my three work screens for hours, I turned around.
Each of us has our own office and can personalize it in our own way. I love my office, except for it being windowless. I painted two walls a warm gold and hung meaningful canvases and other frames and pictures. A black shelf holds items that add to the definition of who I am.
So when I turned around, I found myself. I felt happy in that moment as I sat there studying my treasures, memories, the puzzle pieces of my life. It brought me back to reality.
Sometimes we need to turn away from things that distract us. Things that lead us away from who we are and into dark, unfamiliar places where we tend to get lost.
Turn around every once in awhile so you don’t leave behind that which is of greater importance in this life…you. ♥️
Friday nights are reserved as date night with my youngest daughter. I decided to take her to the outdoor mall we used to go to often. Once-upon-a-time, the kids and I spent a lot of time there, especially at Barnes and Noble.
We began our night at JC Penney’s. I spent a boatload of money in Penney’s throughout my years. My mom was a Penney’s girl too. Penney’s had the best selections and I was always happily surprised when I got to the checkout counter with the extra discounts I received. With six kids, discounts and quality of clothing kept me coming back.
As I walked through Penney’s last night, I was greatly disheartened. It resembled more of a garage sale than the Penney’s I recall. Racks of mismatched clothing. Clothing and hangers on the floor. I actually kicked hangers off the walkway as I saw it to be a potential hazard where someone could get hurt. Some fitting rooms were closed and barricaded by mounds of clothing. The fitting rooms that were open were littered with clothing, hangers, and tags just strewn everywhere. No employee anywhere in sight. Then I needed to use the restroom. Filthy. I felt I needed a shower and/ or tetanus shot when I exited. Probably both.
I left Penney’s with a heavy heart.
I want my old Penney’s back. A place where sales people were readily available. Well lighted and bright. Clothing neatly displayed. Clean fitting rooms and sparkling restrooms.
We walked outside throughout the mall and noticed many empty stores. We tried to remember what used to be in each empty space. Sadly, Rocket Fizz is gone. Barnes and Noble was still there thankfully. Still it was somewhat changed from the last time we were there. But change is a must sometimes. I get it. I just don’t do well with it. The smell of coffee and books though was familiar and so welcomed.
As we headed back to the car, I noticed that even the landscaping wasn’t as kept up as it once was. I wondered…was it due to lack of money or lack of employees?
I shared my thoughts with Mattea. I mentioned that Penney’s, and malls in general, took a big hit once Amazon and online shopping became popular. Covid was designed to create another huge dent in life and living (my opinion). And now with our economy tanking and people becoming increasingly more cautious with their spending, and surprisingly, there are many who don’t want to work, so it’s no wonder we have messy fitting rooms, disgusting bathrooms, and empty buildings.
I want to go back. I really want to go back.
Back to the fun mall days of shopping or just to walk around. Maybe grabbing coffee to go with a Cinnabon, or an Orange Julius with a Hot Sam’s pretzel with mustard. Back to Christmas displays complete with Santa and candy canes, and Easter bunny photo shoots. Back to more carefree days, like the time spent with my sister and friends at the Lakehurst Mall in Waukegan, IL, in the mid ‘70’s. Even back just 12 years ago with my kids.
Maybe all malls are not in such decline as this one. But in my world, mall shopping is quickly becoming unfun. This town is 45 minutes east of my home. The other mall where we shopped in the ‘90’s is 45 minutes west of here and is even in greater decline.
I woke up this morning still feeling a little sad. Things we take for granted are never quite noticed until they are vanishing or gone. Quite like our freedoms of today. I, for one, am feeling the squeeze of the tightening belt around our livelihood and I’m not happy about it. I, too, took things for granted.
I’m thankful that I was able to experience those good ole mall days which blessed me with many good memories and warm fuzzy feelings. I only hope that we can turn things around and head in a better direction. That way we can share moments like these with our grandchildren.
Change for the better I can handle. It’s this downward spiral of change that I cannot. We need to do better. As a country we need to do better.
I still believe good things are possible. It’s going to take a lot of work, but all things are possible through God. ♥️
Matthew 19:36 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Photos: online photos of Lakehurst Mall, Waukegan, IL, 1971-2001
Lately, I’ve been thinking about what ifs? Mostly this thought has been centered around losing people in my life. I guess this has been on my mind since my ex-father-in-law passed and was buried today. He was a good man and loved by everyone.
Melvin was patriotic. A veteran of the Korean War. He loved our country and our flag. He was a fisherman. A transporter of Amish folk. A family man. He was Meek. Kind. Gentle.
I remember the day when my in-laws’ house burned. My husband and I got there as soon as we could. We could see the white smoke a long distance away. The fire department was there spraying the huge flames. I was big pregnant with my first child, but that didn’t prevent my father-in-law from collapsing in my arms, sobbing. He was a big man. Not overweight, but tall and strong. I held onto him tightly and surprisingly, I was able to support his weight. It’s a cherished moment I will never forget. That was 40 years ago this year.
I tried to think back to our last conversation and sadly, I do not recall it. That got me to thinking a little bit more.
Choose any person in your life and think about them for a moment. What if that person passed away suddenly tomorrow? Would you be left with any regrets? Would you be left with things unsaid? If yes, fix it. Did they know how you felt about them? If no, fix it. Now think of another person and ask these same questions. And then keep on moving to the next person and the next.
We do not have a single guarantee that we will live to old age like my ex-father-in-law who would have been 93 this month. We don’t know what a day holds or what the next phone call will bring.
The bible talks about being prepared. Being prepared for a home in Heaven. But I think it’s good to be prepared for the unexpected. Certainly we cannot be prepared for every scenario but we can maybe be better at relationships. When I pass, I don’t want a single person in my life to wonder how I felt about them.
If a what if happens in your life, I hope you are left with no regrets. Oh, and try not to leave regrets either. Leave smiles.
As I rejoice in the reversal of Roe vs Wade, I see that many others have resorted to violence and destruction once again. Those who mandated vaccinations now scream “my body, my choice”. Those who who have divided our world between the vaxxed and the unvaxxed, and often restrict the unvaccinated from receiving life saving health care continue to bellow “my choice” while striping others of their’s.
I agree with them on one point only. My body, my choice. Only there’s one thing of great importance here. A baby is in their body, but not their body. I was pregnant six times. I can verify this…those six little bodies were separate from mine.
In the past days I have read horrid, disgusting banners and signs. I have seen women who’ve painted their body parts with “blood” while carrying “bloody” baby dolls. They resemble something from a horror movie. I guess that’s their objective. I hear people scream vile things to those who respect humans in all stages of life. And there have been violent physical attacks against pro-lifers and threats made against our Supreme Court justices.
I saw a picture of neatly stacked bricks strategically placed as in the summer of 2021. Bricks used to break windows and bones. I hear elected officials scream words of insurrection. These women claim to speak for me. They absolutely do not.
Isiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
When will these acts be condemned and prosecuted?
I have noticed that the drag queen scene has readily become popular for parents to take their littles for entertainment. I watched a video of a queen on an outdoor stage dancing in a short skirt for the littles. During his flamboyant dance he backed away from the edge of the stage. He got down to a squat, spread his legs, and moved his sparkly boa so the children could see his genitalia.
What a wicked wicked man.
Why is this no longer considered pedophilia? It was just like a week ago. What are these parents thinking? And why are they not charged with sexual crimes against children and child abuse? This perversion should anger every one of us. I am.
Romans 8:9b Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
The Spirit of Christ is seen in neither of these situations. And yes, I judged these situations to be evil because God has told us what is good and what is evil. And if we never judged to a certain extent we would not send missionaries to places we have judged to be godless.
Woe to those…
Roman’s 1:32 states that even if we do not participate in evil situations such as these, but approve of those who do such things, we are as guilty as they are. God’s words, not mine.
These are situations where I will not agree to disagree. You may disagree with me, but ultimately that’s between you and God.
James 1:12Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. ♥️
“If you are not afraid, why would you need courage?”
That quote was in my devotional this morning. Today I learned something about fear. As I am a fearful person and the weight of the known, and unknown, weigh heavy on my heart, I discovered something of great importance.
It is written numerous times throughout the Bible do not be afraid and fear not. We are also told to be courageous.
“If you are not afraid, why would you need courage?”
This is what I learned:
Since God does not contradict himself, I will surmise that he means “not to succumb to fear”.
If we need courage, fear is probably present to some extent.
Here on earth, as we are confronted with trials and tribulations, the enemies of God’s righteousness, and of the great unknowns, we fear in order to be courageous. Fear is fuel to reach higher ground.
Note: Fearing God is different. We cannot stand up to or confront God. Fear is respect, love, and reverence to him. Fear is knowing he has all power in heaven and on earth, and he has all power on judgment. There is no courageous stance against God Almighty.
Fear is not always a bad thing. It is truly a bad thing when we succumb to it and become it’s slave.
I hope this this thought inspires you today. I hope it gives you courage to reach higher ground and conquer the hard things in life. We have been told all our life not to fear. I’m saying to go ahead and fear to some degree. Just don’t allow it to become your master.
Every job I’ve ever had has been in customer service. Well, except when I worked in the activities department of a long term health care facility.
Am I just getting old and tired and impatient, or is everything messed up and every one in a constant state of confusion and anger?
In a sue-happy world, businesses are having to protect themselves more fully, which means less leniency for the consumer, like in my business of insurance. Inflation is effecting every business and therefore, every life. Insurance is not exempt.
Dealing with phone call after phone call, 8-5, five days a week, from those who are upset is becoming just too much. They blame me for what the insurance carriers require and/or cover. Or, rather…don’t cover. Renewal premiums are skyrocketing in many instances. Many want demands met NOW. They yell at me because they can’t yell at the insurance carrier. I am exhausted like no other time in my life. Even when raising six kids have I never experienced such mental fatigue as I do now. I come home so exhausted that I accomplish nothing and I have many tasks that require attention.
Then there’s the news. It’s everywhere. You need to be informed but how much is too much? It’s all so disturbing.
There has to be more to life than this.
My brain is tired and my heart is weary.
I’m asking God to send help to me in my personal life and direction for another avenue of employment. I’ve been told I am good at customer service, but I certainly no longer enjoy it. The world has changed. Or, maybe it’s just me.
I’m not trying to be a downer really. But if you feel these things too, just know you are not alone. That’s what I’ve said along with this blog. It’s about making connections and letting others they are not alone during trying times.
I’ll be going to bed soon. I might get up early to see the planets that have aligned in the eastern sky. And, thankfully, tomorrow is Friday. Hopefully, a good ending to a rather rough work week. ♥️
A few years back I went out with a man whom I’ll call Jay. Jay and I had gone out a few times and I guess I wasn’t ready for dating, or we weren’t right, or whatever. So he went out with someone else. He jumped into that relationship with both feet right into the deep end.
Meanwhile, we still kept in touch. He was telling me how great she was, how happy he was, etc. I told him several times to just be careful. As fast as that relationship ignited, all I could think about was that he was going to get hurt. And he did. I had tried to warn him. It happened just too fast.
After that relationship collapsed, he and I met to go to for a walk at the falls. He needed a friend and I had no reason not to be one. Call it a date or whatever you’d like.
We went down to the lower falls and took a walk on a wooded pathway that led us to a pond and a picnic bench. So we sat there, just the two of us, gazing into the stillness, watching bugs flit to the surface of the water. It was beautiful.
Jay opened up and began talking to me about his whirlwind relationship. I listened. This man was greatly humbled. He didn’t yield the warnings, the red flags, the advice from a friend…and he’d been hurt. Badly. This giant of a man spoke softly and meekly. He shared with me because he trusted me and felt safe with me. And he knew I wouldn’t ridicule him in any way. We talked about many other things as well, but the humbleness never left him all that afternoon.
If this was a date, it was one of the best dates I’ve ever had.
Jay and I are still friends. We were texting this evening and I asked him his thoughts about God. This is when I recalled our talk by the pond and it made me realize something. It made me think of how we jump into situations feet first, right into the deep end. How we think to ourselves…now this is the life! We don’t heed warnings or think about God. At least not as much as we should. And then, I think about how we ultimately get hurt.
But if our heart is right…we will find our way down a simple wooded path that leads to a still pond and an empty picnic table. Only the table isn’t really empty. Jesus is waiting there. He’s been ever-so patiently waiting for us to come back and sit beside Him. He wants us to bare our soul and humbly speak to Him without reservation.
This, I believe, is the best date…ever.
When I think of Jesus sitting on a throne, I don’t think He’d be disappointed that I choose to envision Him sitting at a picnic table in the middle of a woods surrounded by all that He created. I think He just might approve of that.
The best date will always be time spent with Jesus. ♥️
When we discuss children often we refer to the mother as the main person of interest in their lives. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
I am perhaps what many would consider old fashioned in my view of the structure of the family. That’s okay. I don’t mind. Because I believe in God’s perfect design. And if that makes me old fashioned, so be it. God’s word, God’s design, will never be outdated in His eyes. You see, He doesn’t change to fit the changing times or for our will. We are to confirm to His way. But the we tend to pull away from His goodness, His safety, His perfection, His will. That just won’t end well.
Fathers should be the rock of the family. The leader, the security, a good provider, the strength…yet loving, caring, patient, and compassionate. A lot is expected of a man.
(I am not downplaying the role of a woman in the family. God blessed her quite uniquely. The strength she carries is almost beyond comprehension. God is mindful of her needs and gives her a place of glory in His design.)
But today we celebrate fathers.
I am blessed to know several good fathers. Men that aren’t afraid to show love. Men who listen. Men who strive to be ever present in their children’s lives. Men who can say I’m sorry. Men who love God.
I like appreciate the men in my life. I enjoy watching them interact with their children. It makes me happy. I’m sure it’s quite pleasing to God as well.
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there. To men who are biological fathers and to those who have taken on a fatherly role in a child’s life. Thank you for your contribution to healthier, happier children and homes, and ultimately, a better society. ♥️
I’m currently in the process of writing a post about my journey to Italy in June of 2012. Hopefully soon, I will be ready to share it with you. Tonight I watched Under the Tuscan Sun. I believe it is one of my favorites.
I love Italy. I love the language. I love the people. I love that it is a part of my heritage. And I love how it connects me with my father. As big as our differences were we shared many of the same loves. Italy was one of them.
Diane Lane stars in the movie as a recently divorced writer (hmmm…sound like anyone you know?) who is given a trip, a gift from friends, to tour Tuscany. While there, she buys a villa. Like me, she falls in love with the people, the language, and the spirit of Italy. But she also falls in love with a beautiful Italian man. Sadly, he breaks her heart.
There was a line in the movie that says something like, “Love makes people do stupid things.” That kind of hit home with me.
My history is that of doing stupid things when in love. Actually, I am talented enough to do stupid things when out of love as well.
I hope to travel to Italy another day. There’s so much I haven’t explored. Ha! Maybe I’ll buy a villa. And maybe I’ll fall in love and do stupid things in another country.
I do hope to share some of my 2012 Italian adventure with you soon. Most likely it will be a two-parter as it’s getting rather lengthy. Plus, I have so many pictures I want to share!
Until then…have a beautiful weekend. ♥️
Photos: Under the Italian sky, in the region of Abruzzo, June 2012 (Casoli is the peak right above my head. It’s where I temporarily called home.)
This time of year sends my heart back to Minnesota with my family. The summer vacations there were fun for us three kids.
We’d pack up our station wagon in anticipation of the long drive to our grandparents’ house. Sometimes we’d pull our pop-up camper. This was long before the seatbelt laws and we’d have our spaces picked out in the back of the station wagon. We would take whatever dogs we had at the time. Once we even took Petunia, my guinea pig.
Grandma and Grandpa’s house was once a garage. It was small but cozy. It actually had a basement which was damp and always smelled like dill pickles as all the canning jars were stored under the stairs. There were two small make-shift bedrooms and a small bathroom. I slept on a very creaky old bed with a very beaten up mattress. There were lots of old things down there. I loved that old basement.
Once there, we kids wasted no time walking to Thomas’ general store at the end of Grandma’s street, up on the hill, to load up on candy. When we were still young, mom would walk with us downtown. Woolworth’s was our favorite stop. It was a great store with lots of souvenirs and a little bit of everything. Aunt Millie worked the soda fountain. We sat at old fashioned stools at the counter and if I remember correctly, you could order fountain drinks, sandwiches, and fries. I loved that place! We never left without spending money that we saved throughout the year.
When we were older we’d walk downtown on our own. We’d look for discarded cardboard boxes. When we each found a nice sized box, we’d take them back to Grandma’s. From Grandma’s front step you could see Indian Hill across the highway. The story was that the hill was a mound, a ancient burial ground for Indians. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I doubt it but it was pretty interesting to a young kid.
We’d take our boxes to the top of that hill. We’d unfold them to make them lie flat. Then we’d sit on them and fly down the side of that hill, laughing all the way down.
When I think of our trips there, I first think of our fishing trips. Dad would take us kids fishing one at a time. We’d get up really early when it was still quite chilly. Sweatshirts were worn in the morning and then we’d be burning up by afternoon. The lakes up there are filled with such a variety of fish. Sunfish, blue hill, walleye, northern pike, trout, bass, etc. Dad would spend lots of time fishing with Uncle Victor too. From my trip to North Carolina a couple of weeks ago, I brought home five rods and reels of my dad’s. Oh, and his tackle box.
We ate fish everyday while there during our three weeks or so. Fish for breakfast was amazing. Fried fish, fried eggs, fried potatoes, toast, juice, cereal. It was a feast!
This time of year, I am always wishin’ for fishin’. Every year my mind travels back to those youthful, carefree summer days in Minnesota with my family.
Cherish everyday with family and friends. Make great memories together. Don’t take anything for granted. Those days do not last forever, but the memories will. ♥️
Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
My oldest daughter is pregnant with her second child. A precious boy! We are so excited. He is my second grandson. My granddaughter, Dakota Chez (pronounced “shay”), is named after a baby raccoon I once had. Her other grandma once had a dog named Chez. I think it’s a beautiful combination. Kota is a bright, happy three year old with a heart as big as the moon.
Proverbs 27:6 Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.
My daughter sent this text to me last night. It made me think of the perfection, the innocence, the purity of a child. A blessing from the Lord.
Kota comes up to me while I’m rocking in my chair, sits on my lap, and asks “Does your tummy hurt?”
“Nope. I feel good.”
“You feel good? Is my baby brother awake?”
She lifts my shirt and places her hands on my belly.
“No, I think he’s asleep right now.”
“Oh, he’s asleep? I feel him kicking me, Mommy!”
She laughs and asks me where his butt is, where his arms are, and where his head is. I point it all out to her and then she lays her head on my belly and whispers, “I love you.”
Kota looks back up at me and asks, “Do you think he loves me? I won’t ever leave him.”
My heart rejoices at the love Dakota has for her unborn brother. Her mother cried. I certainly did too.
Matthew 18:3 Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
I am grateful for God’s design. The beauty of a young family. The miracle of pregnancy and childbirth. The preciousness of wee ones, tiny boys and girls. ♥️
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. Myroof. 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. ♥️
Photo: taken on my drive home from work, June 1, 2022 (a rainbow, the sign of promise)
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. ♥️
Photo Credits: Sugarloaf Mountain, rshantz.com; twilight magic crape myrtle, homedepot.com; momma deer with one of her twins; Mom’s resting place
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. ♥️
PHOTOS: wallpapercave.com; storm that hit five miles from home
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.
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.
Breaking in a pair of jeans.
Or, a pair of boots. Work boots, cowboy boots, hiking boots.
A baseball glove.
A leather jacket.
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. 🤦🏼♀️🤷🏼♀️)
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.
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. ♥️
Photos: taken during my Mother’s Day walk with my girls.
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…
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.
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.
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 ~
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 ~
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. Myeyes 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.” ♥️
*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!
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. ♥️
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.
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. ♥️
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.
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. ♥️