Monday, December 31, 2012

Simply Today

There were many things that complicated today and many things that made it all the better.  The biggest complication, or rather let-down, was the discovery of overly anticipated expectations.  I seem to have a really good knack lately of setting myself up for more heartache.  Call me an optimist.  *shudder* However, despite all of drama today held there were a couple moments that made my day - the message at church and a phone call from a dear friend.  I can't even begin to describe how God is speaking to me through our prayer time and through other people. 

The past couple of days had compounded some additional heartache and sadness, to a point I wasn't even sure how I could possibly hurt anymore.  I mean seriously how is it possible?  But as they say; where there's a will there's a way.  I knew in my heart of hearts that more than anything I wanted to go to church today.  Actually, to be quite honest, there is no other place on Earth right now I'd rather be.  I find such comfort in God's house. 

Today's message was on Psalm 84.  Go ahead, grab your Bible, this will be here when you get back.  Before he began the message the Pastor said to really read it and to let the Lord speak to you.  I have to give you a little back story first.  I've been working on losing weight and trying to look good.  One, hoping that my husband would notice and find me attractive again, and two I really, really need to get healthier.  I mean, 34 and having health issues is NOT a good thing!  Anyway, this morning I took an extra while on my hair, make-up, and was able to wear a shirt I haven't fit in almost 2 years.  I felt beautiful.  I felt like a princess.  Then I was let down when I didn't get the reaction I had hoped for from my hubby. The one person I was hoping would really notice.  Now, back to the message.  I just have to tell you that God does care about you, He cares about me, He loves us more than we can ever love ourselves or be loved by another human.  I think that is why this Psalm meant so much to me today.  OK, OK I'll get to it!  After feeling rejected I felt so let down and so unacceptable and just plain, well, ugly. 

Then I read Psalm 84:1: "How lovely is your dwelling place, Oh Lord Almighty!"

I felt like dancing on clouds and twirling there in my pew.  You see when you have Jesus in your heart and the Holy Spirit in you, then you are a living, breathing, walking, talking dwelling place of the Lord and He thinks you are lovely!  How absolutely amazing is that?  My Savior thinks I'm lovely - He thinks you are too!  Never again does it matter (though in our humanness it will) what others think, because to God you are lovely!  I'm lovely! 

On another BRIGHT note, later today I took a picture of me and texted it to my hubby.  He replied back, after some time, that he thinks I looked beautiful.  I have longed to hear those words from him for months, and today, I was gifted with them.  The Lord has blessed me so much today.

Now, the basis for the Psalm is when the people of Israel would leave their villages and start the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem so that they may come before the Lord, thus the dwelling place of the Lord.  During this pilgrimage they would have to go through the valley of Baca, or the valley of tears.  This is a valley of hardship and pain, much akin to what we all face from time to time.  However, the great thing about valleys is that they aren't permanent, they are merely a part of the journey.  Pastor was using this as an illustration that 2013 may hold a valley for some people and that there are others (like me) that are currently walking through one. He went on to share that the valley is a place where we are tested, where our faith is tested, but we don't have to camp out in the valley, all we really need to do is JUST TRUST GOD WHILE WE ARE THERE

And that, that is what God has been telling me to do for days now, to just trust Him. I've felt myself wavering, like I hadn't been doing enough, but truthfully, I see it now that God had to get me to that place where all I had left was my complete and utter trust in Him.  Honestly, I couldn't think of a more able-bodied person to give it all to.  So, I guess I'm saying all this to say this: 

prayer works, time with the Lord works, giving it to Him works.  It's ok not to have all the answers as long as you have all your faith and put it all in His hands.  He has promised He will never leave or forsake us, so when in that moment it feels like nothing is happening, it is!  He hasn't left, just trust Him, because the valley will end.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Getting Back To It

There's nothing quite like a broken heart to rip away your desire to do, well, everything.  Granted I've gotten through my days, and by that I mean I have woke up, shuffled through the motions, made an attempt at being human, and then gave into what little tear ravaged sleep my body would allow me to have.  It isn't that I don't have a desire to live each day, because really I do, I look at each one as a new opportunity to continue in my fervent prayer for a miracle.  I also have three beautiful daughters that require me to put forth my best and support them.  However, this gaping hubby sized void in my life is taking its toll.  But I still have my hope, my faith in the Lord, and my belief that all things work towards His good. 

I'm learning during this tragic time.  I shared a bit in my last post, the one where I finally shared the pain that has ravaged my life for the past 2+ months.  I've learned that when you truly give your life to the Lord, not just via lip service, but in all that you are and in all that you do, He will do amazing things with you and through you.  I've learned that I can be patient, kind, generous, soft-spoken, and forgiving.  I've learned that these aren't characteristics of weak people, not that I characterized people with these attributes as such, but that I never gave myself the opportunity to try to attain them myself thinking I'd not get to be me. The me everyone thinks I am.  I had to be the tough kid on the block.  I think it was more of a way to protect myself from getting hurt emotionally and mentally, but guess that didn't really work for me either! Yet - now, now I'm finding the real me.  The me that God made me to be.  And all truth be told, I really like the me He's creating.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not a completed project.  In fact I probably never will be, none of us will.  God works in us and through us each day for the whole of our lives to make us into the people he wants us to be - all with our permission of course.  I pray I continue to give Him that right.  We have it you know; the right to tell Him yes or no.  It is called Free Will. 

Free Will.  I rally hate those two words.  It is those two words that cause people to change; sometimes for the good, and regretfully sometimes for the worse.  But, if there is one thing I have learned in my almost 35 years on this crazy sod, it is that we all have to get to THAT PLACE where we make the choices we make due to the choices we've made.  I've made certain choices over the years and one day, when the right one comes along, I'm going to share my story - the WHOLE of it.  But now isn't the time, God will reveal when that time is.  However, right now, right now there are a few chapters that are still being written, I can feel it.  Rather, I know it.

Besides the things I am learning about myself, I am also learning a few things about others.  I am learning how amazing my friends and family are - both the family which I was born into and my church family.  These people have been a beacon of strength for me.  These people have pulled up beside me and let me cry, for hours, on their shoulders, over the phone, in letters, and texts.  These people have allowed me to grieve and they've grieved with me.  These people have prayed for me and with me for the hand of God to work in all that is happening.  The great thing about that is God has promised that where two or more are gathered there He is.  Oh, Praises to our Lord and King! 

That's the thing about the Lord, He is in the prayer answering business.  He is especially in the business of answering those prayers which are aligned to His will.  Now, that said, He in all of His grace and power, will never trump a person's free will.  He will always let us decide for ourselves the choices we want to make.  Which is another reason why I really am not a fan of Free Will, but there are Bible stories made from Free Will.

Before this turns into a longer post than I was planning, I want to say, I'm here.  I'm still broken, but I am here.  My heart still longs for the one who has held all these years.  But I have a peace forming in me.  Oh, don't get me wrong I'm still hoping for that miracle, but should it not come in the way I see it, I know that God sees the picture through eyes I don't and I am trusting Him with my life.  I'm trusting Him to do the right thing with my heart.  After all, who better than the one who created it?!

Until next time lovelies...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hold My Heart

I've searched, fervently, for something to heal my broken heart.  I stumbled across a picture on the web that gave me the only answer I really needed, you can see it below.  It wasn't that my vision was skewed, its that my mind couldn't, wouldn't, focus.  After all, my heart is in a thousand little pieces.  I hurt.  My pain is greater than I have ever experienced.  I've been dealt a death blow, I'm crushed.  But, I've found a few things.  I've found the depth of love my church family and friends have for me.  I've found, that I'm still alive, a feat in and of itself, but I am breathing, in and out, though labored by the incessant crying.  Oh these tears, how they burn.  My eyes, so puffy.  My stomach, in knots.  All these a reflection of the pieces my heart is in. 

It's a funny thing, really.  How this organ that circulates life has the capacity to ache, to feel heavy over the loss.  In case you didn't know I lost something, rather someone.  Someone who will have my heart in their hands forever.  But, I've found someone too.  I've found God.  Oh, I've always had Him.  He's always been here for me, and now, when I need love in my life, in my heart; when I need the joy that comes from being filled with the love of another, He is here.  He is in my heart.  He is in my every waking minute.  He is filling me, slowly, tenderly, efficiently.  He is loving me with a love that knows no other.  He is my Father, my Savior, my Redeemer, my Healer.  He is my everything.

He is someone who will never leave me nor forsake me.  I love Him.  I need to love Him.  My heart longs to love, it does still.  It loves.  It loves who it has loved all these years.  It won't stop, it can't.  I can't.  I love him.  I need him.  I want him. But, he has decided I'm not who he wants anymore.  I'm not who he wants to love anymore.  I'm not who he needs anymore.  But I have hope and faith.  I believe in the power of prayer.  I believe that my Redeemer will heal our hearts, mine of its breaking, and his too.  His is broken too.  I know it is.  My man, my love, my everything.  I love him.  Oh, how I love him.

I know in his heart of hearts he loves me too.  In there, where he has it hidden, love exists.  True love takes work, that is the nature of love.  The reminder that I am in love with him does no good.  He's already moved on.  Completely.  He doesn't tell me anymore the words that used to fill me with joy; those three beautiful words.  They are gone, for him.  Not me.  I can't see past my pain to the future, the one he's already crafted without me.  He has too, sadly.  His future is filled with all the things that don't include me.  Mine, still has him in it.  I'm afraid I have lost.  Oh, but I've found too.

I've found that giving it all to God really does help.  It is my only constant; my conversations with Him.  The one who created me.  Me, this broken person.  This girl who loves a boy who doesn't love her anymore.   

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Lesson in the Pain

We have all been told, from the moment we were able to understand, that everything happens for a reason.  Next we are told that whatever doesn't kill us will only make us stronger.  Then, we are schooled in the fine art of learning from what has wronged/pained us.  Sadly, it is hard to see past the hurt while it is happening.  It is hard to see any perspective other than the one that is your own reality, because let's face it, when it hurts there are no other sides, just the one facing you.  It is the proverbial elephant in the room. 

There are different perspectives, rather other people's points of view, that you can get.  You can ask a random person, a friend that has the same core beliefs you do, a friend that doesn't, an acquaintance, or your own troubled self.  With each of these you are going to hear the right things and the wrong things; the things you need to hear and those things that are so wrong you wish to crawl in a hole and hide from that person.  In all of that, knowing who is right is just as challenging as the reason for the pain.  So, do you ask for advice or do you keep it all bottled in?  Do you let go, do you hold on and fight, or do you take a passive stance and see where it will all fall?

That's it!  Each one is easy and each one is hard.  When do you throw in the towel?  When you are completely depleted of all you are or before that?  That's the thing with pain, you have to know your threshold - what you are willing to sacrifice, because in the end there is always a sacrifice.  It is either a piece of you, your spirit, or the thing causing the pain.  Sacrifice is there in all situations.  How you emerge from that determines the lesson that is learned. 

For instance, an Olympic runner doesn't get there just by sheer luck.  No, they have to sacrifice time, energy, the temptations of bad food, etc.  But they learn that to win the race they have to fight the good fight and tarry on.  Then there are the lessons that aren't learned until some time later; those notorious what-ifs.  It is those terrible little what-ifs that destroy us.  Life isn't to be lived in the what-ifs.  The what-ifs keep you bound to your past and neglect the promise of your future.  What-ifs are the devil's playground.  He thrives there, he destroys people there, he ruins lives/relationships/families there.

All this brings me to this point.  Life has pain.  It doesn't matter who you are, or what other's think of you and your situation, we.all.have.pain.  No one coasts through life, no matter how much they want you to believe they do.  I guess the lesson here is that the grass is NEVER greener on the other side.  You will sacrifice something to obtain it. 

So as I sit here and regale myself to fight the good fight, because this pain is something worth fighting for, I rest firmly in the arms of my Creator and the sound advice of a great friend.  After all, we were never promised a pain free life, but man, I sure am excited to get past it and onto that lesson!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Happiness That Follows

Today I had the pleasure of teaching our adult Sunday School class.  I have to admit I was planning on doing something completely prosaic like, "Trusting God when you don't want to," or "Trusting God in the face of adversity," or...OK, you get the point.  It isn't so much that these aren't great topics, because in all actuality they are, and for those of us who wept Tuesday this was more in tuned to that reasoning.  BUT, in all of my ever increasing lack of time I failed to put something together.  Understandably so, it is most impossible to wing 50 minutes on a title alone...there must be substance!  SO, what did I do?

I put in a video.  The DVD set is on the 12 best small group studies of all time.  I'm not really sure who made that decision, which panel or board, or what not, but all I have to say is "know your audience!"  It worked though - this video we watched.  It was titled, "When I don't desire God."  Yeah, that's me.  It isn't that I set out to just not want him, its that I get so busy I forget about him.  There is a huge difference, the first one is a conscious decision to not chose him, the other is letting it slip your mind.  That is what I fall into.  I have found though, that when the busyness takes over he has a way of finding you.  Its in those small things like, a beautiful sunrise, a smile from your children, a random act of kindness, a happy chain of events, but also in those moments when life falls apart, when everything you've based yourself on comes crashing down at your feet, there, too, you find him.

And that leads me back to the lesson today.  The video, which was a bit long winded and the guy a bit academic, seriously his vocabulary was in the stratosphere, but the message was a simple one and one that had me thinking hard.  Really, hard.  However, without a teacher's guide I was stuck with winging it.  This is what I asked the class after the video:

What makes you happy?  Truly, happy?  A response from a lady was, "books, because I love to read."  So I asked, "if you were to have all your books taken away, your ability to see the written word, and your rights to read, would you still be happy?"  That's the just of it.  Would we still be happy?  It shouldn't be that we are happy when we have amassed all these earthly things, or great prestige, or rank, honor, personal glory, but that we should be truly, unabashedly happy in the lack of these things.  Why?  Because our joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

God created us for his glory.  Not so we could live in a certain zip code, drive certain cars, wear certain labels, hold certain jobs, but that we could love him and this life and be happy when it comes down to just that.  I'm not going to lie to you, I struggle here, where these thoughts intersect.  I'm human, I want my cake and to eat it too.  But to live in that mindset day after day is to miss the point.  Now, I'm not saying I'm anxiously awaiting a "Job moment" but in the past couple of weeks when the bottom has found its way to the top, so to speak, in my life, this is where I'm left.  Sitting, waiting, hoping, trusting...happy.

I'm not throwing a party and hanging up banners and streamers, I'm loving the one person who gave me life, who formed me in my mother's womb, (Psalm 139:13-16) who chose me, who knew me before I came to be, who hand selected me to be given to the people I was given to - my Lord and Savior.  I'm happy because I have him, and it is in having him that allows for the happiness that follows.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Trusting God

This week started out like any other; Monday following Sunday.  We had a busy weekend working on the house.  That's the thing about homes, there is always more work than time.  I have been super excited because my hubby and I finally got a bedroom suite, it has only taken 11+ years.  While he was at work the girls and I spent the weekend cleaning, building, organizing, and cleaning some more.  I was so excited to see the finished product, hoping the feeling was shared.

That's the end of the beauty of the week, right before it had a chance to get started.  I suppose I shouldn't say that, Monday and Tuesday weren't half bad.  However, Wednesday the bottom fell out.  It was, I have to say, the worst day of my life.  That's the thing about life, you never know what it will throw your way.  Sometimes the surprises are beautiful and welcomed warmly, like the joy of becoming a parent, but there are times when the surprises rip the very core of your being to pieces.  That feeling hurts.  It breaks you in a way you never thought possible. 

It causes despair to set in.  I causes a sorrow so intense, one felt so deep, you don't know if you can even place one foot in front of the other to take the steps necessary to begin life again.  Because that is what it is- it is beginning it again.  That's what happens when you're a grown-up.  Life moves along in a sing-sing way and you are comfortable and happy and living a dream, then WHAM! you get to experience the pain of life.  You get to put your big girl pants on and face the next day.

But before you do that, you look in the mirror and search your heart.  There you realize you aren't alone, you are never alone.  GOD IS THERE.  He feels your pain.  He knew that moment your heart stopped and you were reduced to nothing but the aching thud in your chest as the only feeling you had.  He was there waiting, waiting for you to see He was there.  That's where I found Him -exactly where I left Him.  He hadn't left, I'd placed Him aside in my comfort.  He was always there.  He's here now.

And that is where I am.  I'm trusting God.  I'm praying constantly for this hurt to go.  I'm praying for the return of the comfort.  I'm praying for God to be there when it comes back.  It will come back - I TRUST God.  He always answers the prayers that are in His will.  God is faithful to me even when I'm not in return.  That's the power that comes from Him, it manifests in the trust, the trust that comes from faith.  He's holding me, He's hearing the pain in the words both spoken and the ones I don't know how to speak.  He knowsI'm not alone.

This will pass and when it does, strength will be in its place.  He's helping me get stronger.  He's showing me the way.  I'm curled up in His lap resting my head on His shoulder and crying, sometimes softly sometimes not.  But He's comforting me, He's loving me, He won't leave me.


Trust God.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Free Stuff

OK, I know you were all expecting "Day 3," rest assured it is coming...well, as soon as I figure out how to explain my day with only using shades of red as my adjectives...well...yeah.

Anyhow, back to the free stuff.  Yes, I did say free!

So, the wickedly awesome people over at Influenster have this thing called a Vox Box.  (No this is not  a Dr. Suess type widget!)  What this is, is a box of goodies they put together based on surveys you take.  How it worked for me...

This past May my friend posted on her FB a photo of the Vox Box of goodies she received from Influenster.  Naturally, the words FREE and GOODIES had me typing frantically on my keyboard to get to their site.  Super easy this whole process was.  I made a log in, took some surveys (you get badges for doing this, which was kind of like bringing back my inner Girl Scout), and waited.  Yeah, the waiting is the hardest part, but never fear there are lots and lots of badges to earn while you whittle away at the calendar.

Honestly, I had forgotten about all this until, lo and behold, I got an email saying my Vox Box was on its way.  Naturally I squealed with joy, I mean - I NEVER WIN ANYTHING!  (The folks in my office weren't as interested in my joy, but hey, it's the little things in life, right?!) It took about a week to get my box, which I got to track its journey to my door as they were so kind as to send a tracking number with the email.  But, I'm not here to bore you with the details, so let's just get to the goodies!

My box of goodies!

My box of goodies included:

1) NYC New York Color IndividualEyes Custom Compact ($4.99) - the angle is a bit off, but this is, at least I am assuming, a "smokey eyes" compact.  Truthfully, I'm in my mid 30's, I don't "do" smokey eyes.  BUT, what I do love is the primer.  I put make-up on at around 5 in the morning, by noon, my eyeshadow has those horrible little creases and I shutter to blink.  However, with this, I didn't have that problem.  Another bonus is the illuminator...its like this fun shiny-shimmery something that added that little bit of ooomph.  (I will give these colors a go again, perhaps I'll find a way to make them all work for me, in some manner or another.)

2) Kiss Ever Pro Lashes Starter Kit ($5.99) - to be honest, my first thought was, oh my "the 80's are calling and Tammie Faye wants her lashes back!"  Though, I am quite thankful for this freebie, I can't say I will apply these.  Thank you dear Influenster folks, but I'm going to give these to my sister, my much, much younger sister.

3) Bath & Body Works Mini Candles ($3.50) - First, I must say I did NOT get a Bath & Body Works candle, much to my dismay.  (Note: I've been a tried and true Gold Canyon customer for many, many years so I have an extremely high expectation for candles.) Second, I have never heard of the brand I did get - White Barn.  Third, and I hate to admit it, but the scent I received, Mahogany Teakwood, is horrible.  It smells like a cheap cologne, a REALLY cheap cologne. Fear not, all is not lost, it has become fuel for my littlest little's pumpkin!

4) EBOOST - $28 for box of 20 effervescent powders (etc, etc) - Tang.  That's it in one word!  I really wish I'd have put this in a fruit juice other than plain water, but it reminded me of Tang.  Can't say I'd run out and buy this anytime soon, due to the cost and all, but it was good and would gladly drink it again.

5) Goody Simple Styles Spin Pins ($7.29) - I was really unsure about these.  One, I have thin hair; two, it is only a couple inches past my shoulders; and three, well I'm not THAT great at the whole hair thing.  I have tried, unsuccessfully mind  you, many times to put my hair in a bun, the result has always be an epic failure.  However, just today I decided to throw caution to the wind and give 'er a go.  First all I have to say is - SQUEEE!  This worked!  Even on my not so long, thin hair and with my non-existent hair sculpting talents!  I am definitely going to get a lot of use out of these! 

6) Not Your Mother's Kinky Moves Curl Defining Hair Cream ($6.00) - Admittedly the name of the product would have been a total show stopper for me had I seen it on the store shelves, but free is free and in the spirit of all things fun, I tried it.  First, this is not moose.  It will not leave your hair weighted down.  Second, if your curls are not naturally there regardless of what you do to your hair, this may not work.  Third, I have a natural, wave - not curls.  Meaning, by mid day, my hair looked rather frumpy.  However, I'm sure I missed a step and there is a secret to success where this product is concerned.

Finally, my favorite product of all:

7) Vitabath Fragrance Mist - I got the Grapefruit Vanilla.  All I can say is my address is .... and I will take a semi load, thank you!  This scent is fun, earthy, a bit musky (which I was thrown for thinking it would be fruity), and just AMAZING!  I don't wear many perfumes, mostly body sprays.  My favorite is Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar.  I now have a new favorite.  The only problem is finding which retailer stocks it!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Day" 2 - Grandpa's Chair

I see him, in my mind's eye, sitting there at the kitchen table like every day before reading his newspaper, drinking his coffee, and smoking his Winston.  The radio is softly playing in the background, turned to some county station that I am sure no longer flows on the radio waves.  The faint smells from the pot of coffee brewed earlier in the morning, while the rest of the house slept peacefully.  The gentle hum of the fridge that was undoubtedly older than I was, at the time. The roll top desk nestled against the north facing wall, under the sliding window, the telephone hanging prominently on the wall to the right of it.  The desk surfaces covered in an organized chaos that only made sense to the one person who managed its contents, my grandpa.

Grandpa was a good man, strong yet soft at the same time.  He loved us all, but I find a small bit of comfort in knowing him longest.  I also weep at that fact for it made many more memories to hold.  I'll never forget the sunny day during 5th grade when grandma and grandpa got their new table set.  You see, I had stayed home "sick" that day, as I often did to get more time with grandma (she spoiled me relentlessly).  I could feel the excitement grandma had when the new oak set was delivered and how concerned grandpa was that us grand kids would mark it up with our crayons.  I couldn't wait to sit in those glossy brown chairs for the first time, it was almost too much for my 10 year self to handle. 

The years have faded those chairs now and the table is long gone.  You see, I got that set when grandpa passed in 1999.  His table and his chairs.  I have several photos of my own children playing at and on grandpa's table, but like a lot of things, time took its toll and we needed a new one.  I refused to get rid of the chairs though, but being without sufficient space had to place a couple in the garage.  Sadly, 13 years in the "out-of-doors" reduced them to kindling.  However, I still have 2 chairs.  There is the one at my craft desk, sitting there calling me to come and put forth some effort to the scrapbook layout I started a few months ago.  Regretfully, its main use as of late has been to hold up my box fan. 

Then there is this chair.  The one I sit in the most.  My favorite one in the whole house.  I think of it as the one grandpa sat at, day after day.  It is old and creaky and has been glued and fixed many, many times, but can't part with it.  Not yet.  Its my comfort zone, this chair.  It is strong and soft, like grandpa.  I sit here to type, to waste time on the Internet, to read a book, to drink my coffee and listen to the radio in the background, to watch the goings-on in my house, hoping that someday, maybe, my girls will remember this chair and have memories of it too.

Grandpa's Chair

I miss you grandpa.

Love, M

Friday, October 12, 2012

"Day" 1 - A Definition

I forewarned you that my "days" would not be literal; the fact I'm just now getting to day 1 is a good indication I was not wrong.  I didn't realize how hard this challenge was.  I mean, they seemed so easy when I was typing them in.  It is hard to unthink a "known" definition of a word.  In fact, I think it may even be easier to think of a new word altogether.  (This is something I actually do, or rather I combine random words and phrases to create utter strangeness, my bestie calls these mandyisms. I concur!) However, day 1 has been set, and the challenge I must complete.  I'm no quitter after all!

There were so many words that I tossed around for this one.  In fact, while streaming the VP debate last night I actually wrote this post and had used the word - stress.  After the debate I reread it and realized that it wasn't a good representation of me or my writing, so I scrubbed it.  Perhaps because some would call it malarky?!  (Sorry, couldn't refrain!)

Anyhow, the word I really want to re-define is blessing.

People can be a blessing, things can be a blessing, good news, extra time to complete a task, random acts of kindness, the kiss of a loved one, etc.  All of these can be blessings.  But what really is a blessing?  Seems easy enough, right?  To me a blessing is a thought, an action, a person, a circumstance, and a thing that brings peace to your day.  In fact, just today I was blessed in these ways:

Another day given to me by the Lord.

My husband ordered lunch so I could have something hot when I got home from work at lunch time today.

The fact that I got to work close to home for the first half of the day.

My littlest little telling me I was beautiful.  (She is so sweet and kind and loving and precious and...)

My oldest little helping me in the kitchen without being told,  just because she wanted to. (She's a pre-teen, the mood swings are as ginormous as the grand canyon.)

My middle little reading the instructions herself and figuring it out and then doing it. (This is HUGE, she is the epitome of drama!)

My job, the pay it brings in, and the honor of getting to go back on Monday.  (Even after 14+ years with this company I am still blessed and thankful for it.)

My husband.  (<3 <3 <3)

My Kindle.  (I have new books on there.)

Finals next week. (I'm ready to finish these classes.)

So, you see, there are so many blessings in my life. These are specific to everyone.  Actually, we all have blessings - each and every one of us.  Oh, yes, I agree sometimes we have to dig deep, really, really, super deep to find them, but they are there.  They are the things that when you  stop thinking of what isn't you realize you have had what is all along.

May you find your definition of blessing today.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hobbies and a 30 "Day" Challenge

Do you have a hobby?  Why'd I ask, of course you do!  Everyone does actually, some just don't give it that definition.  I have several.  You can read my bio for the full list.  Out of them all, I'd have to say writing is my favorite, though it is the one I exercise the least.  Why?  It's hard.  It's one of those things you actually have to engage multiple parts of your person at once to make happen.  How?  Well, the brain...nah, not going to go there.  Seriously though, writing IS hard.  This is something that leaves you a lot more vulnerable to critique than any other.  Granted you can keep it in, hidden in the journals that your loved ones generations down the line will stumble upon while cleaning out their attics, or you can be bold and put it out there where the world, should they so chose, to see.  Alas, I do both.  Today, the world won.

One of my favorite new sites is Stumble Upon.  Haven't heard of it?  Go forth and enjoy by clicking hereWait!  Finish this first, after all what's the fun in missing the end?  OK, so as I was "stumbling" this morning, well it was actually a couple of days ago, but I digress; I came upon a site that I fell in love with.  Perhaps it isnt' so much a site as much as it was a list of things to do to help break out of a writing funk.  I'm going to call it my muse.  Another stumble brought me to a 30 day challenge, of which I will not be partaking, but there were quite a few "days" that I think I want to use to break myself free from this creative rut I am in.  So...what does all this rambling mean?

Simply this:  I've got a list of stuff to help me write, a challenge to incorporate the list, and a blasted blog sitting mostly idle, but aptly named since it really does all take time!  Oh, now, now.  You didn't waste your click from earlier to get this far and wonder what the smurf this nut case was rambling on about.  I have a point and a challenge of my own!  I will commit to it with sincerity, but cannot commit to an exact timeline (i.e. one a day, one a week, yadda, yadda....).  You can take your creative hobby and figure a way to incorporate it. Please remember your hobby is in keeping true to yourself, just as much as mine is to me.  Here it is:

1. Find one word and describe it in your own way.  No Webster allowed!
2. Describe your favorite piece of furniture and why its your favorite.
3. Using only the color red and its hues, describe today.
4. Describe a recent dream.
5. Think of your favorite book or movie, what character do you like most?  Write a non-related story about them, knowing only what you know about them from the original work.
6. Deconstruct the word: Faith.
7. Describe someones hands.
8. Pick your absolute favorite song, write the lyrics and how they make you feel.
9. Take a picture, then describe what you see.
10. Share your morning commute.
11. Describe a childhood memory.  (Yes, just one!)
12. Describe the taste of your favorite food.
13. Share your dream job.
14. Describe today's weather using scientific words. (No flowy, flowery, or richly descriptive words.)
15. Write a list of words, one per hour, that randomly come to your mind today.
16. Who's your favorite super hero and why?
17. If you had it to spend, how would you spend $100,000?  (NO CHARITY!)
18. List 5 good things about both presidential candidates...Yes, this will be hard for BOTH sides! Absolutely no bad.
19. Finish this thought: If the world were only...
20. What happened at noon today?
21. Describe your best friend without stating their name.
22. Look of the year you were born and find something interesting that happened (yes, I understand your birth was interesting, but that isn't what this is about) and share it.
23. What do the colors purple, black, and green bring to mind?  Why?
24. In the jungle...
25. People watch today, describe what you see.
26. Describe love with verbs only.
27. Share/explain your biggest fear.
28. Look yourself in the mirror, what do you see.  (Be true to yourself without belittling your existence!)
29. If you had it to do again, what would "it" be?
30. Choose your own adventure.

Hope you have fun with this.  If you don't play along, that's fine only you will really know.  If you do, and you are so inclined, link this post to your blog and share with others or comment with the link to your post. 

Until next time... M

Thursday, September 20, 2012

When Life Isn't Fair

It seems more and more things are happening that make life, well, just awful.  They are things like: not getting picked for something, not being included, working really hard on something only to have it fail, losing a job, a friend, a loved one, and the worst thing, not knowing how to help someone who has had one of these things happen to them.  This has been a bad week.  Truthfully, it makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs, from the tallest peak, GOD WHYWHY?  Why is this happening and what can I do about it?  Please don't misunderstand me, this isn't about me, this is about those I can't help.  This is about my abject smallness compared to the bigness of what's the matter.  It's the fact that it can't be undone.  It's the constant wanting to make it all better, yet not having a clue as to where to start.  It's about seeing people you care about hurting, deeply, and wanting their pain to go away.  It's about wishing I could do more for them - for THEM.

What do I do? It's so unfair.  The pain, the agony, the cruelty of life.  It's the longing for one more day seeing them happy, knowing their hearts are at peace.  Sure, everything has a reason, but in the thick of it, that is never enough.  Never.  My heart hurts for them.  I want to hug them and cry with them and let them know I'm here.  But then...

I remember, have I been?  In all honesty, truly been?  Have I been there when it was sunshine and rainbows?  That's it, the crux of the matter - NO, regretfully, not a lick.  So what can be done now?  Simply, hope and pray. Pray for their healing, pray for their comfort, pray they find joy.  Then be there to share in the pain, share in the sorrow, share in the difficulty - if and when they want it, because truthfully some things should never be handled alone. That's what friends are for.

But, there's a fine line between being an acquaintance and being a friend.  That line is defined simply as, time.  The time spent together.  The time taken to really be involved.  The self sacrifice to be there for that person when they need you.  That is what it takes.  It isn't superficial, it isn't a status, it's a greater caring and desire that their life be as full as it can be.  It's being honest, to a fault, and loving no matter what.  That is the picture of friendship and then, when life isn't fair, you have each other, more than just in thought, but also in deed.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

One Car, Two Car - Red Car, Blue Car

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." - Dr. Seuss

One car
two car
red car
blue car.

Black car 
blue car
old car
new car.

Barry Weise - Storage Wars
Mizpah Shriners
This one has a little star.
This one is a little car.
Say! what a lot of cars there are.


Yes.  Some are red. And some are blue.
Some are old, And some are new.

Some are steamy.
And some are gleamy.

And some are very, very dreamy.
Why are they steamy and gleamy and dreamy?
I don't know.
Go ask your Aunt Mimi.

Some are thin.
And some are fat.
This one has an orange hat.

From there to here,
from here to there,
funny things
are everywhere.

Here are some that like to run
They run for fun in the hot, hot sun.

Oh me! Oh my!
Oh me! Oh my!
What a lot of funny things go by.

Some have two seats
and some have four.
Some have six seats
and some have more.

Where do they come from? I can't say.
But I bet they come a long, long way.

We see them come.
We see them go.

Some are fast.
And some are slow.

Some are high.
And some are low.

Not one of them
is like another.
Don't ask us why.
Go ask your mother.

Say! Look at his spokes!
One, two, three...
How many spokes
do I see?

One, two, three, four,
five, six, seven,
eight, nine, ten, eleven.
It has twelve!

This is something new.
I wish I had twelve, too!

And simply because I love these are few more!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

My favorite weekend of the whole year is almost here - Labor Day weekend.  It isn't the holiday that does it for me, because truthfully, well, it is just another day.  (In fact this year I am blessed with the opportunity to work it! - Yes, my dears, that is sarcasm.  Come now, don't act surprised...) No, it is what this weekend holds.  This weekend signifies the transition from the lazy days of summer into the crisp, ever-increasingly fast paced days of fall.  A season which I hold to be my most favorite of all.  Saying good bye to August with its tortuously hot days which were filled with the laughter of children as they ran about and hello to September with its promise of more sedate temperatures, quiet streets, and empty yards. 

However, Labor Day weekend is more than the end of a season, and the beginning of another; it is  the return of routine and structure in the forms of classrooms and schedules.  For some it is quite chaotic and truly expensive.  As a mother of three I can attest to how much education, or rather the process of it, costs.  (But I'm going to save that for another blog...still need to get my littlest little off to her first day!)  Labor day weekend says good bye to the comfort of tank tops, cut-offs, and flip-flops while welcoming in capris, cardigans, and slip-ons. This weekend of change is also celebrated with a wash of color - out with the lime greens, shocking yellows, bright reds, and watermelon pinks and in with the pumpkin oranges, light browns, deep yellows, and burnt reds.  It's the trading in of Popsicles for pencils, roller blades for back packs, and sprinklers for sprinkles, the rain kind that is!

But it isn't just all this change that makes my heart smile, it is the festival that accompanies it.  It may be hard to tell, but I love old cars.  I'm not going to profess to know a lot about them.  In fact, I can't tell the difference between a turbo engine, a carburetor, a crank shaft, or even an oil pan, but I know beauty when I see it.  I know there was passion in the designs and that alone is what draws me to the festival.  It isn't the lure of who's driving them, how much they're being auctioned for, or any of that jazz.  No, it is simply the joy of seeing a well crafted piece of art purr like a kitty as its driver, ever lovingly, applies pressure to the gas petal and all that mechanical wonder propels its sleek body onwards to its next destination. I can see, in my mind's eye, the sunshine glimmer off the chrome and metal, the sparkle of the paint, and even hear the humor in the tooting horns.  I can picture the labor intensive hours of men and women bent over drawing boards with their pencils and erasers designing the most minute of detail by hand, something that is totally missing with modern machines.  Oh, we may have beautiful cars today (my Chrysler T&C being one of them) but nothing, absolutely NOTHING, like what will be on display.  No.  And sadly, my limited vocabulary cannot paint a word picture strong enough to describe what my mind sees.  I see love and passion, craftsmanship and art, glamour and prestige all manifested into the objects put together by hard working men and women who spent hours building the things we would eventually love decades into a future they would never see.  These aren't just automobiles, these are a huge part of our history.  These are our grandfathers', great-grandfathers', uncles, and even grandmothers' blood, sweat, and tears spread lovingly over something we have joyously passed from one generation to the next.  This is why I love Labor Day weekend.

Sadly, we lost this somewhere after the 70's.  We don't see many Pintos or Yugos in classic car line-ups.  There aren't going to be people lined up for miles to watch a parade of Ford Escorts, Chevy Sprints, or even Chrysler PT Cruisers, but their predecessors will; they will pull people in repeatedly with the allure of the dreams of their forefathers, all-the-while creating the hopes of one day seeing that same kind of love repeated into another one of the machines we've all grown to rely on.

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Kitchen Curtains

Have you ever set out to redecorate a room in your home?  I find this one of the most infuriating things to do as a homeowner.  I swear I have used every color of paint known to man on these walls and still struggle to find that one color that just makes me swoon every time I enter the room. Because of this my walls are a lovely, albeit safe, shade of off white; though I am sure it has some fabulous name like - Barely There, Crushed Seashell, or Not Quite White.  But it comes across as truly B-O-R-I-N-G!  I mean, I have an intense personality and I am NOT afraid of color...heaven's you should see what I wear.  So, how do I take that and transform a room, and not spend a week's or a month's salary doing it? 

Here's the dilemma.  I don't know what I like!  I know, right?!  How on Earth do I start when I don't know where to start?  Ok, perhaps I do.  I like red.  I like contemporary/modern, bit not overly geometric.  I like floral, but not itty-bitty prints.  I like bold in  your face designs, but not too abrasive.  I'm a walking contradiction on one side.  On the other side, I like the feel of a den done in dark woods and deep seated leather furniture as well as sunny, soft day rooms with tons of squishy pillows and a rug that engulfs your bare feet as you walk on it.  How do I take all of those likes and turn them into something that I can be happy to come home to?

So, to be safe - as if I'm not already there, I thought I would start out with window treatments - in my kitchen!  No, seriously, this IS a big move! I have had the same curtains in there for years.  (Yes, I realize many people do the same thing and that this is not an extraordinary thing.)  However, I am struggling to find that right material or design, for that matter.  Seriously, WHAT is with the lacy, floral, dainty curtains that look like they could be turned into an angel costume at Christmas time?!  UGH! I've combed ebay, etsy, google's bazillion results and am coming up at a loss. I have also looked at JoAnne Fabrics, Hancock Fabrics, and other places online for material to attempt to make them myself, again, epic fail.  Here are a couple of swatches and designs I like.  Now, to find THE ONE that makes my eyes fall in love at first sight!

I really LOVE the amount of white space in this fabric, but the colors are all wrong.

Yes, yes, yes, on the size of the floral and the color. No, no, no, on the thing as a whole.

Gutsy, but too much yellow.  GRRRR....

Actually, I love this pattern, not hip on the black strip on the bottom, or the mustard yellow.

Dig the grommets.

This - in a multicolored, mostly red, not too large floral with grommets, please!

And now you know why my house essentially looks the same as it has for the past decade+.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Comma, comma, chameleon

No, I am not having a 1980's flashback nor am I in love with Boy George.  Although, Karma Chameleon is a catchy tune.  just work with me here...

We all have passions in life, mine is writing.  However, I am a lousy writer.  I don't know the ins and outs of sentence structure.  Sure, I know what a noun and a verb are. I can even tell you what an adjective and an adverb are.  But, that is about the extent of my knowledge.  I struggle with the simplest of things, like commas.!  I am quite certain there was a time in school (elementary, middle, and high - just for reiterations sake) that an English teacher attempted to drill the facts into my brain.  Sadly, the only thing that I remember is that small little factoid that told me a comma is to act as a natural pause in a sentence.  Well, isn't that a fun fact?! isn't always so great for someone like me who writes like they talk, or rather think.  I think, and talk, in chunks.  It's like words come to my mind and I can get a sentence out, a run-on sentence actually, and all this stuff is like verbal vomit.  Yet there are times when the words don't come to mind...the thought sits and sits and sits, waiting ever patiently for the birth of more words and all I get is that pregnant pause, where lo and behold a comma goes! Crazy, right?!

So, what should I do about this?  This desire to write, to put forth letters in manner they form words, and words in a manner they form sentences, and sentences in a manner they form logical thought, and logical thought in a manner they form a story.  I'm sure there are a hundred English majors or English teachers just itching to take a red pen to this blog post alone.  I mean, am I using proper grammar o.O?  In fact, it is something I should actually care about.  After all, Blogger even tells us that correctly articulated thought brings a reader back.  Well, shoot...that's where you are all running to - another blog with proper sentence structure!  GASP!  I feel so deserted.

Regardless, there are the basics and these we should all know.  For instance:

Long lists of things get commas.  You don't necessarily have to put a comma between the next to last thing listed and the word 'and', but it doesn't hurt to use it either.  Use commas in a sentence when there is additional information used that doesn't change the meaning of the sentence.  Use it in dates and places.  Use it between multiple adjectives where the word 'and' would make sense. 

BUT do not use a comma, just, for, the, sake, of using a, comma...see that totally doesn't make sense!

There, I've said my piece.  I'm sure I will still mess this grammar thing up, but as long as I stop here I'm OK.  Now about that blasted semi-colon...


Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Fresh Dose of Random Thought

The foot traffic on this blog seems to be as up and down as my moods of late.  I'd like to say that I have an even-keel demeanor, but I'd hate to mislead you.  I've been contemplating this post for a couple of weeks now.  What to say and how to say it or rather what to share and how to share it.  I say a lot, most of it isn't shared!  I am fresh out of snarky witticism, but I do have a fairly good handle on, well, me. (At least momentarily...hehehe)

1. You can't make people like you, accept it and move on.
2.  Not everyone you meet will understand you.  The lengthy process of explaining yourself will get lost in translation.
3. Life will happen.
4. Politics are an evil necessity.  Being neither a Democrat nor a Republican makes it a lot more difficult in an election year.
5. Your life is your life, don't let someone else tell you how to live it.
6.  Accepting constructive criticism is often a hard pill to swallow.
7. When it comes down to it, there is only one person  you need to please, and he's always watching.
8. Don't compromise who you are just to make a friend.
9. Your experiences are going to lead you somewhere, you need to figure out if it is the right journey.
10.  Memories are there for a reason and it is ok to let some go.
11.  Changing your circumstances is like herding cats, sometimes they get away from you and sometimes you have to pick them up by the scruff of the neck.
12.  Finding your place in life doesn't take destroying someone else's.
13. Forgiveness is oftentimes more for your benefit than the other person's.
14. Forgive.
15.  It's ok to cry - a lot. 
16.  Loving others takes effort and chances are you will get hurt, but growth often comes from that.
17.  What you do does not make you who you are.
18.  Count your blessings, then do it again - it often takes a couple times to really be thankful.
19. Have no expectations of others, you will always be surprised by what they can give when you don't limit them with your view of what's best.
20. Smile at the reflection in the mirror, you're looking a miracle in the face.
21.  Let your friends know how much they mean to you - even if they know, they like to hear it too.
22.  Hug your kids - they were specially created just for you!
23.  Be honest with yourself with out belittling your existence.
24.  Have a goal, then find a way to achieve it.
25.  Kiss your spouse for no reason.  Sometimes that's all it takes.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Windy City

There are few places on this Earth I truly love.  Truth be told, there are few I have traveled to.  Regardless, there are a few that keep a little piece of my heart each time I go.  There are those places that are awe inspiring and breathtaking, they are precious reminders of God's perfect creation; then there are those that are mostly man made but leave you just as breathless.  (No, I'm not putting man up there with God, sheesh!)  One such place is Chicago. Every single time I go I long for the chance to return.  In fact, when I was little I used to dream of some day moving to the city and finding my prince charming in a magnificent condo on Lake Shore.  We'd take long walks on Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue.  We'd watch the Bears every time they played at home and I'd never be more than a block from a coffee shop.  However, grown-up life isn't like that, but it is just as wonderful.  Because as a grown-up I can still visit the city (something a lot more affordable than actually living there) and enjoy all it has to offer, but also share it with those that I love (that'd be my family).

This past weekend Mr. Man and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.  We had grand plans to go several different places.  We looked at weekends in New York City, Seattle, Tennessee, a cruise, Hawaii, you name it - we thought of it.  After all, the main goal was to finally have the honeymoon we never had.  However, in order to do those things you have to have someone to watch your kids and since we didn't we had to modify our plans.  So, what does a couple, who has never vacationed alone, do with all the money they saved for their special time together?  Well, they take their kids on the best weekend adventure they've ever had. 

The last time we were in the city was a bit over four years ago.  At that time we did the "normal" family-of-small-children thing.  You know, the museums, zoos, kid-safe restaurants, etc.  This time, we livened things up a bit, after all this was for us too, right?!  On the first day we went to the Willis (Sears) Tower and stood out over the city in one of those suspended decks.  From there we went to lunch at Bennigan's and then on to Millennium Park.  While there we saw the 'bean' and Crown Fountain.  Ok, the kids really, really loved the park.  Our oldest little, she wanted to see the bean the most, our middle little well, she just simply didn't want to walk anymore, and our littlest little, she got soaked!  In all we had a great day!

That night we stayed in a Westin.  It was the first time I have ever stayed in one and the first time our kids have ever stayed in a hotel.  Needless to say they were super excited!  I think the best part for them was the pool.  Had the water not  been so cold I'm pretty sure we'd have stayed in there for hours.  The following day we surprised the kids with a trip to LegoLand.  Oh my goodness!  If you have not been to one, GO!  No, seriously, get online now, book your tickets, and make a day of it.  I have three girls...this place is NOT just for boys.  Plus, Mr. Man and I had fun building with them.  I loved the smiles and memories we made.

I can't wait for our next weekend adventure or even our next daycation.  It seems the older the littles get, the more fun we have.