Posted in family

Treasured Moments

My baby turned 33 today and is expecting her first baby, a boy, on June 22nd. All of us who are parents understand how difficult it is sometimes to grasp who quickly time goes.

My sweet little jewel with her thick head of black hair, in a matter of what seems like a moment, is grown-up. She is going to be a mama. Very soon she and her husband will experience that explosion of love which happens in your heart. Which is soon followed by an intense desire to protect your child from everything hurtful. And  we know that not possible.

My friends tell me being a grandparent is even more fun than being a parent. I’m sure it will be. I’m ready to have my own explosion of love in my heart.

Posted in Faith, family, Uncategorized

What defines Family?

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I wanted to take a moment and ask you to think about how you define “family.” 

Is it just those legally related to you by blood and/or marriage? Or are you one of the generous and loving souls who has a broader definition of family? In the last four years I have sadly discovered the majority of people keep the definition of family very narrow.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family where my parents always opened their doors to anyone who might be left alone on a holiday. I did the same all the years I was married. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter I always checked to make certain everyone I knew had plans. Over the years we celebrated with a wide variety of people. My girls didn’t hesitate to invite friends to join us because they knew I’d always say yes.

How unfortunate that not a single one of my Texas friends checked even once in 2014 and 2015 and now 2016, with me to see that I won’t be alone. With one daughter married with in-laws and the other one on the West coast, I would have been alone this year until a last minute change in plans for my married daughter. The only one to invite me is the family I babysit for and I barely know them. What does that say about my friends who told me countless times we were family?

It is difficult in this electronic world to make friends. It’s even more difficult when you no longer have the natural outlets of children, school, neighbors, or work to make friends. Churches may preach friendliness but I’ve yet to find one that truly reaches out. 

Please take a moment this holiday season and ask everyone you know if they have plans. No one wants to announce she/he will be alone on a holiday, so don’t expect them to ask for an invitation or announce they are alone. Open your doors. If you need help with food expense, ask them to bring a dish. Open your hearts. I can guarantee your life will be made richer by reaching out and pulling people in.

Posted in christmas, Faith, family, Uncategorized

Happy Holidays

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s not surprising to see Christmas decorations going up in stores. While I think it’s a little too early, it has its intended affect on me. I start to get excited. And for young children and many adults, a long period of preparation and build up only leads to disappointment. So here are a few things that might help.

1. Find a good Advent reading guide and spend 10-15 minutes each evening reading Scripture as a family.

2. Discover Christmas traditions from other countries and pick one to try.

3. Find out how to say Merry Christmas in 10 other languages.

4. Look up where the word holiday (holy day) and Christmas (Christ mass) come from and discuss their meaning.

5. Learn one new Christmas Carol. Here is a link to my favorite new one. It’s especially poignant since my divorce. That’s Christmas to Me

6. With older kids, decide on one way to contribute to those in need not just at Christmas but all year long. Suggestions include tutoring younger kids, reading at the local library or to seniors.

7. Wrap baby Jesus from the nativity and unwrap him Christmas Eve while reading the Christmas Story. Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-14, Luke 2:15-20, Matthew 2:1-12, Luke 2:14

8. Start a tradition of playing your favorite game on the Saturday nights in December.

9. Bake cookies, make fudge, a cake, a pie whatever reminds you the most of your own childhood Christmas and pass it on.

10. Invite “strays” for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner. There any many people, including me, who may have nowhere to go to celebrate.

11. Write down a blessing each day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Each family member). Place them in a jar and read them on January 1st.

12. Find and go to a holiday concert or play. Many high schools have free concerts and community theaters may offer a low cost alternative to seeing a professional production. There are also community orchestras which are less expensive.

13. Find the best Christmas light displays in your community and make a photo scrapbook.

14. Hold a potluck and invite your friends to a Christmas Carol sing-a-long.

Whatever you do, share it with those you love and most importantly know this: it’s not how many gifts your children receive or how expensive they are. What they will remember are the memories you make together.

My girls in 1991 in dresses I made for them.

Posted in costumes, family, Fun, Sew, Sewing, Uncategorized

So. Sew. 

So, I love to sew. My daughter is wearing a Mary Poppins costume I made for her when she played Mary Poppins this past summer. 

My grandmother taught me to sew when I was about 11. During middle school, I made almost all of my clothes. I used an old treadle machine which had been converted to electric. All it could do was so straight, no reverse, no zigzag, nothing extra.

When I had children I sewed for them. Dresses, usually matching which I’m sure they hated, but I loved seeing them wearing my creations. I made halloween costumes. Drapes, pillows, valances, balloon shades anything for my home I wanted.

Then when my girls no longer wanted me to sew for them, I made costumes for my neighbors’ children. And now I have come full circle and I’m sewing for myself and my girls again.

Why sew when you can go buy something already made and sometimes even cheaper? Sewing is a creative outlet. I makes my mind work hard. I love seeing what I created. But most importantly, it connects me to generations of women before me who sewed, by hand, by machine, clothing for their families.

Posted in family, seasons, Uncategorized

Autumn

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Autumn is my favorite time of year. After a long hot summer, the slightly cooler temperatures feel refreshing. While we don’t have fall color here in central Texas, I can enjoy them through Instagram. I’d love to live somewhere with all four seasons, but for now, this is where I am.

Without fall color, the scent of burning leaves, pumpkin farms, apple orchards and a chill in the air, how can I find the spirit of Autumn? I’ve pulled out my fall decor. I’ve planted bulbs. I am making pumpkin muffins and pumpkin cookies. My apple and cinnamon candle is burning. It is amazing how much scent can evoke feelings and memories.

One of my favorite fall memories is when my ex-husband and I went to Cattle Congress in Waterloo, Iowa. We lived close enough to walk. It was a chilly evening, the stars were bright, we held hands and laughed at the day’s events. When we finally made it home, we spoke of the future because we had learned a few days earlier we were going to become parents. Of course, I had no way of knowing how much joy my daughter would bring to me and fortunately I didn’t know how much sorrow and heartache my ex-husband would bring to me throughout our 30 years of marriage.

Maybe I love autumn because when I look back, I had some of my most amazing days between September and December.

 

Posted in choices, family, friends, Uncategorized

Resistant to Change

It takes thousands of years of wind, rain and sun to change the earth. There is clear evidence those elements made their mark on the rock formations above. These are in New Mexico. They have been altered but they didn’t move. The wind and water had to go around, over, under or through the rock. It may or may not be smooth to the touch but it appears so.

What I find most difficult about personal change isn’t actually changing, it’s getting those closest to you to accept the “new” you. Of course they encourage you to lose weight and exercise but when you do, you’re told that you are too concerned with how you look and getting old.

When you try to be a better listener and not talk, they say great. But when faced with the “new” you, they ask multiple times is everything okay because you’re so quiet.

If you mention wanting to learn something new or pursue something different, you are given support until you actually do it. Then it’s, I didn’t know you had the knack for that or that’s not very practical.

When you decide you won’t allow people to mistreat you or speak disrespectfully to you, everyone says good for you. Until you stand up to them and then it’s your taking the other side or who do you think you are now?

You want to be more outgoing, meet new people and have fun. Again that’s great! Then when you do, it’s you’re too old for that or I need you and you’re not available.

Change, real long term change is hard, really, really hard. And when we actually step out in faith, and do the hard work to make lasting change the support of those closest to us is important. However when we change ourselves, it forces changes in those around us. Maybe the change isn’t noticeable, but usually when we make a difficult change it causes a ripple in the water, a bump in someone’s road. People don’t like that. They say they are supportive but it usually turns out they are supportive until it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable for them.

Ask yourself, are you truly being supportive of someone you love make a big change in his/her life? Or do you pull back when it suddenly becomes uncomfortable for you.

Posted in daughters, Experience, family, life, love, Uncategorized

Freedom for those we love


“We have to live our own lives. We have to give freedom to those we love.” Ross Poldark in Angry Tide by Winston Graham

Ross makes this comment as he and his wife leave their children behind as they head to London. Demelza is sad upon leaving the children at home and Ross reminds her that before she knows it the children will be leaving her.

As a parent we all must face the moment when we know our children are adults and independent. It’s bittersweet because you want them to grow up, live their lives and be happy but you will forever miss your babies. I think that is one reason as a parent it is sometimes difficult to step back when they are adults and let them find their way. In our eyes they are still our babies. As a mother there is always this overwhelming desire you fight to keep them children.

I always knew my children would grow up and go out on their own, making their way in the world. What I never thought about was the first statement Ross makes. We have to live our own lives. I forgot in those years as a mother and wife I needed to make a life of my own separate from them. It is even more true now that I am divorced. I never thought about being anyone other than a wife and mother. It is much more challenging than I anticipated to find my own way in the world. I feel like the one who has had adulthood thrust upon her unexpectedly.

I know my passion but the question is can I make a living? Can I support myself? Do I have the discipline needed to focus and make it work? That is yet to be determined

Posted in daughters, divorce, Dreaming, Experience, family, Moving, relationships, Uncategorized

Was I hit by a Semi-truck?

I don’t know if you can tell from the photo but I’ve been sleeping on a very small and uncomfortable sofa for the last two days. I helped move my daughter to the LA area. I helped load the truck. I drove the truck and then helped carry boxes up to the second floor apartment. Thankfully she moved no furniture.

Without going into details the room she’s subletting and the apartment were filthy. She said, “Mom, how can people live like this?” I don’t know but working as a real estate agent a few years ago, I learned never to be surprised what was behind closed doors. So rather than unload the truck first thing, the next few hours were spent making the room clean enough to even begin. Once we unloaded the truck, I thought I had been hit by a semi. I don’t remember the last time I ached so much.

Then we ran a few errands including buying paint. When we returned I promptly set about painting the orange and blue room a soft gray. More unpacking and cleaning, finally crashing about midnight on the sofa.

The next day we made an IKEA stop, along with half of LA followed by Walmart then we set about assembling a bookcase. The room needed more cleaning. A lot was accomplished including cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. Hopefully we will finish up today because I fly out of LAX this evening.

Maybe it’s the physical, emotional and mental fatigue which has caused the nightmares to return. They not only make for a poor night’s sleep but I awake feeling depressed and disheartened. I return to spend another week with my family and will go to chemo on Thursday. I will manage to see three high school friends before my cat and I hit the road again for two long days.

There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my daughters as long as I am able to help. I no longer have the ability to help financially even with anything small need. I wonder if their father, who acts as those they were never born, realizes he is missing out on the lives of two incredible women and the love of the three of us. Praying the nightmares leave so I don’t wake up feeling so down.

Posted in Faith, family, Uncategorized

Two days, 1247 miles and 1 cat

Someone I love has cancer and has begun a rigorous routine of chemotherapy. Before my divorce, I would have purchased a ticket and flown west to Las Vegas, NV. My family has lived there for almost 43 years. I’ve only made the full round trip road adventure once prior to this time when my dad died. Then I had a husband and daughter who could help with the drive. This time it was me and my cat.
There isn’t much between central Texas and Southern Nevada. There are long stretches of road which appear endless. And in many areas there is no radio reception. It gives you time for a lot of introspection. The first day was 12 hours. Albuquerque was my destination for the night. About an hour outside the city, the sky grew dark and it rained, hard. I was already tired and my cat was beginning to get restless in his kennel. Heavy rain just added to my already high stress level. But before long, the sky began to grow light and then it turned the most brilliant shade of blue.

It occurred to me this storm is a representation of my life the past few years. I lived with an ugly storm building on the horizon and when it hit, it had 30 years of hurt and heartache raining down. It came close to destroying me. Then slowly, very slowly I began to see a break in the storm. I could hear the faint calling of God’s voice telling me not to give up. And now, even though my loved one is facing cancer, I can see blue sky.

The blue sky of hope is calling my name. It reminds me of the story in Luke 8. Jesus is asleep on the boat when a storm hits. The disciples ran to him because they feared drowning. He utters a word and the sea and sky are calm. That is where I made my crucial mistake. I was so caught up in the drama, fear and pain of my storm I forgot to turn to Jesus. But thankfully our God is patient and he waited for me to turn around and call upon his name.

Posted in daily prompt, depression, Faith, family, life, Uncategorized

Cheat

Webster’s definition (directly copied from Webster’s dictionary).

Simple Definition of cheat : to break a rule or law usually to gain an advantage at something 

: to take something from (someone) by lying or breaking a rule 

: to prevent (someone) from having something that he or she deserves or was expecting to get

Hear the word cheat and some very vivid images come to mind; an unfaithful spouse, a scam artist, a dieter eating a candy bar,  a student who didn’t study but many of us would say we don’t cheat. We might even say we’ve never cheated but upon closer introspection I think most of us would find we cheat everyday.

Whether it’s driving a little over the speed limit, forgetting to signal when we turn, saying we did something like take out the garbage when we actually haven’t done it yet. Or what about cheating our children of precious connection? That’s one of my biggest gripes. It never fails, I always see parents talking on their phones or playing with a tablet and completely ignoring their children. When we give our focus to unimportant things we are denying our children of what they deserve, an engaged and interactive parent. See definition #3-prevent someone from having something he/she deserves. We cheat.

Human beings crave connection. We aren’t meant to live without emotional connection to other human beings. Close personal relationships help protect against depression. But close, meaningful connections don’t happen without time and effort. We spend the most time on the things, people, experiences we value. Like the bible says, “where your treasure is (what in your life you deem important-it doesn’t have to be money) so will your heart be.


If tomorrow you had to make a list in order of where you spend your time and place your focus what would it look like? I’m not advocating quitting a job. But don’t cheat yourself and those you love out of a deep connection by being distracted and focused on the temporary things life has to offer.

Daily Prompt