Every Moment An Adventure

Her hair is a wild halo of brown curls. She pushes it off her face with a quick swipe of her small hand. Her arm has the remnants of a purple marker, a reminder of her artistic ability that will wash off at her next bath. She is full of energy, bouncing and jumping, running and riding. Her bounce horse is sporting a pair of jingle bells for the season. They ring loudly as she rides her horse into the last lap, heading for home! Her sweet childish laughter rings out, infecting all those around her with a smile. I believe it is impossible to be sad when in the company of this sweet toddler. She is the pint-size embodiment of blazing hot sunshine….not the sunshine of a warm summer day, more like her going 100 mph with her hair on fire. Just sayin’.

Socks on and socks off, slippers next. In the life of a toddler, clothes are a necessary evil. It is so much easier to run and jump unencumbered without the restrictions of pants and a shirt. Striped leggings, butterfly wings, and Nana’s cat socks. Colors and softness and all things cozy. Fashion sense is less about sensibility and more about fun and freedom. 

A small voice that is just learning to sing Old McDonald’s Farm and Jesus Loves Me floats on the air from the backseat. I turn around to look and she is swaying back and forth to the music in her head. Her PopPop and I sing along. At the end of the impromptu concert, we get a not-standing ovation, clapping her hands and saying, “Good job!” My heart melts and leaks happiness all over.

Thank you, Let’s go!, and Outside?, are favorite words, ones that are used most often. Last night we read Olivia- Countdown to Christmas. In the world of children’s literature, Olivia is a little girl pig. She found the story fascinating and enjoyed sticking Olivia stickers all over the book. That is part of the fun! Being engaged with her and what she is doing is exhausting, and enlightening, and worth every single minute.

Every moment is an adventure. Every day a blessing. 

Psalm 139 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Joy In Today

“Joy is often found in the simple things”. 

  1. Raindrops on the window
  2. Patting the dogs/cats heads
  3. Feet in cozy socks
  4. The sound of a baby’s feet on the floor
  5. The laughter of a child
  6. Giggles
  7. Playing with wooden blocks
  8. Rain boots
  9. A hug from my husband
  10. Inside jokes

 

 

  1. Shared stories
  2. Dear friends to share life with
  3. Praying friends
  4. Good books
  5. Walking with the Lord
  6. Knowing I am His
  7. Scripture that reminds me
  8. Good gluten-free chocolate chip cookies while they are still warm
  9. Long sweaters
  10. All the wonderful nuts from my family tree

 

  1. Playing with my daughter and the baby with lots of laughter
  2. Almost done with school
  3. Chores completed
  4. Gray skies and puddles
  5. Having second chances
  6. A son who is almost done with college
  7. A truck that runs
  8. Warm blankets at night
  9. Hot showers
  10. Beautiful roses from my husband

Zip It!

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So, I am currently in a Women’s Bible study group. We are reading through Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman. The book is good, in the sense that it causes me to think, consider, and well…..learn to keep my mouth shut. There is a time and place for everything, and quite frankly just because I am thinking something, doesn’t mean I need to say it. Is what I am saying truly beneficial? Is it helpful to others? Am I speaking truth? Or are my motives more about being right, and having the last word? Yes, admit it. We have all been there! The truth is, I might legitimately be right and my words valid, but that doesn’t mean I need to use my words like a sledge hammer.

Let’s make no mistake about it. Words have power. They can build another up or destroy. Words can decimate, far greater than a sword. We have all probably had experiences where someone said something that hurt us, and we carry the scars of how those words made us feel, even years later. I remember words a friend’s older brother said about me, when I was just ten years old. The teenage boy’s thoughtless words probably meant nothing to him, but cut me deeply.

I do not want to be that person. The one whose words sting.

I can be wise when I choose what words to say……or not say.

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning.  Proverbs 10:12-13a NIV

 

 

I Don’t Want To Miss Them

Life gets busy and I fall into bed at night, exhausted.

My to do list is long and my need to rest is even longer.

There are days when I go from one thing to the next,

forgetting to live in the moments that are now.

Stop. Slow down. Look around.

I whisper, “Thank you, God, for these moments.”

I don’t want to miss them. Not now. Not ever.

Being thankful is a gift in itself, and there is always so much to be thankful for.

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Challenge #12, Might-Have-Been

 

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I often get asked, why in the world did you move here? The people who ask, are alluding to the fact I moved from Knoxville, Tennessee. Knoxville is a city nestled in a valley surrounded by the foothills of The Great Smoky Mountains. It is a place that many Ohioans go on vacation. Yet, here I am. My family and I moved to a rural area of Ohio, outside a tiny village whose population doesn’t even make it to “town” status. It is not unusual to see Amish families on the roads in their buggies.I admit, it is not a happening place. I miss restaurants, and all the shopping. I could be to most places in five minutes. With that said, when I lived in the city I didn’t wake to the sound of geese flying overhead, or the rooster crowing. I didn’t have the opportunity to witness open sky and wide, uncrowded spaces. These places to breathe and think and not feel so rushed. In the city, buildings crowded out my view of the sun rising, and city lights detracted from the brilliance of the night sky. My house was on a large double lot in the city, but there is no comparison to the twelve acres in the country. There is room for the family and dogs, cats, chickens, and horse.

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When I am going about my business of feeding animals and other chores, I often stop and soak it all in. I am a country girl at heart. This life I’m living, bring me so much joy. If you had asked me a half dozen years ago, where I’d be, or what I’d be doing, I could have never imagined this. A new marriage and family, in a new house in a new state, in the country. It might never have been……but, I’m so glad it is!

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Challenge #7, The Best Party Ever

It was a turning point year, the year I turned forty. My husband, kids, and I were celebrating my special day with my mom and my sister and her family. I’ve always enjoyed birthdays with family. My growing up years, as far back as I can remember, was always celebrating birthdays with family. The traditional birthday cake, ice cream, and presents. Is there really any other way to commemorate the completion of another year?

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This particular year, the year I turned forty, was not so unusual, and yet it was. Turning forty was a mile marker, a special birthday, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to be a forty-something.  My husband acted a little anxious, and seemed to be rushing the party along. I was enjoying myself, why make it go any faster? Suddenly everyone was tired, so we said our good-byes and started home. As soon as we got home, my husband suggested me go out for coffee (which was a normal “date” for us). I thought it a little odd that we just got home and he wanted to go back out, but I was clueless. It wasn’t until we were several miles down the interstate that I started to wonder what was going on. He said we are just going for a drive. I questioned, where? He responded “a birthday surprise”. My husband had “kidnapped” me and was whisking me off for a weekend get-away to Asheville, N.C. to start my 40’s off right.

We had so much fun, and it was made even more special because of the effort my husband had made to have the kids taken care of, suitcases already packed and sneakily put into the trunk of the car, and having reserved a beautiful room in a gorgeous location.

That day turned out to be one of my most memorable birthdays….the best party ever.

Challenge #3-Captivating Your Senses

The writing challenge for today has me describing something using my senses.

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Hoffman’s is known for their homemade ice cream. They have the best chocolate milkshakes and my favorite chocolate-peanut butter ice cream. They were, and still are, a family owned business, just down the road from where I attended high school. Simmons, another small family business, also had great ice cream, that really hit the spot on those hot summer days when I was a kid. Family get togethers, in warm weather, always required home made ice cream, with the cousins taking turns working the crank on the ice cream maker. It is funny how, as an adult, thinking back on my childhood, some of my sweetest memories involve ice cream.

Although my generation didn’t know it at the time, our childhood in the 70’s and early 80’s was the end of an era . It was before personal computers and gaming, and tablets and smart phones. In order to have a good time, all a kid needed was time, a working bike and a good imagination. But, I digress……..back to the ice cream.

 

The ending to a perfect Saturday afternoon drive with family was a stop for ice cream. Jumping out and slamming the car door shut, I could tell someone was mowing their yard, the smell of freshly cut grass wafted on the air.  On that hot summer day, the porch boards creaked under my tennis shoes. I pushed open the screen door and walked inside. The interior was dark and cool compared to the late afternoon sun outside. I could feel the rivulet of sweat going down the back of my neck on this day with no air conditioning. While my family was ordering ice cream, I looked out the window of the store to the ball field out back. Everything seemed so bright out there, compared to the inside of the store. I ordered my chocolate peanut butter ice cream in a sugar cone. Around and around I licked, trying to keep up with the melting scoop of ice cream. Sweet and cold, so cold it made my mouth go numb. Brain freeze!  I could taste the sweetness of the chocolate mixed with the saltiness of the peanut butter. Is there a better combination?

 

 

Peeing In The Wind…Again

I thought I’d share one of my past posts. I think all my east coast family and friends will be able to relate. Even though my family and I missed out on the big snow storm of 2016, we certainly have had our fair share of winter weather over the years!

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Peeing In The Wind (originally posted in February 2011)

This winter storm is something else.I spent most of the night listening to everything we had on the deck being flung down to the other end of the deck. Even our huge, heavy grill. Seriously powerful wind.

This morning my son, K, had to take Lonnie the wonder dog, out to do his morning business. Forget the postman delivering mail in rain, snow, sleet or hail…..what about a dog owner having to get the pooch outside in this weather? K suited up with coat, hat, boots, gloves for the stint outside. Lonnie on the other hand, was totally oblivious to the storm on the other side of the laundry room door. All he knew was that he had to go. Let’s make it snappy, pappy!

The door opened and the cold and wind smacked them both in the face. ( I on the other hand only looked on, snuggled up in my cozy robe.) Now, keep in mind my family and I live in a field. There are no wind breaks. It’s always windy here in rural Ohio, but today the wind is 40-50 mph. It is snowing and there is a thin sheen of ice on everything. Not the best of conditions for walking the dog. I sort of felt sorry for K, but not enough to walk the dog for him.

I briefly saw Lonnie go flying by the window. The poor dog only weighs 19 lbs, so it is a good thing K had him leashed or he might have ended up in Pennsylvania. As it was, he was part dog and part kite.

Poor Lonnie dog. Having to pee in 40 mph winds. Not an easy feat…especially for a 19 lb. dog that is hanging on for dear life.

Lonnie the wonder dog is resilient. He toughed it out. When he re-entered the laundry room, he shook off the cold and snow. He then made his way back to “his” rug in front of the fireplace. It’s all in a days work.

 

Peace For A Parent’s Heart

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The day broke in vibrant pinks and purples, against a cold, crisp mid-January sky. Crawling out from under my electric blanket was difficult, as I could feel the air nip at me, even in the heated house. Today’s high temperature is to be 9 degrees. Single digits involves dressing in layers, that and a good cup of hot coffee.

My son left this morning to go back to college. Packing his car with his freshly laundered clothes and winter sports equipment in 1 degree temperature was not fun, but he is a trooper and got it done. He has only been gone a couple of hours and I miss him already.

I had a friend post yesterday about her three sons growing up and how it was hard for her. I can relate. All my children are young adults now. Two working full time, one at school and working part time, and one working full time and attending school. It is hard on parents when their little kids, aren’t little anymore….when their lives are truly their own, and they make all the choices about their days. For better or for worse.

As a parent it has always been my job to raise my children to eventually let them go. Love them, teach them, comfort them, reach them.  As the years went on, I had to learn to release my grip on them. My mama’s heart is feeling a tug today. Sigh.

I find comfort on the difficult days of being a mother, in the words of my Lord…..

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 The words that have been etched into the heart, won’t be forgotten…even if the path has lots of bumps in the road.

And, Romans 8:37-39 – No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. I know that I am not always going to be there for my children. I am not all knowing, and all present, but I know the One who is. Christ loves my children, as He loves me. He will never leave them, nor can anything that happens to them, ever separate them from His love.
That gives this mama’s heart, peace. Thank you, Lord. Amen.

Hot Diggity Dog!

I’ve been thinking about dogs lately. Actually, I think about dogs quite a bit, since my family has four of them! Each of them is unique and special, with their own personality. If a person doesn’t understand that, than it is pretty clear to me that he/she has never owned a dog. I really can’t imagine my life without my canine companions. They make me laugh. They make me yell (sometimes). They shed and howl and bark. They jump and lick and are loyal beyond anything else.

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Ace is technically my daughters dog, although she “shares” him with the rest of the family. He is a twelve year old baby. He may be getting old, and because his joints ache, he takes longer to get moving, but he loves to love. Even though he is a 70 lb, pure bred Scotch Collie, he does not understand why he can’t be a lap dog, after all he is a dog and we have laps. Ace has been the best guard dog….running the perimeter of our property, letting the coyotes know that they are not welcome here. Now, he spends his days laying around the yard, and barking at the UPS guy…..not because he will eat the guy (in his old age he doesn’t have many front teeth left), but because he knows the guy will give him a treat. According to Ace, the UPS guy is smart. The FedEx guy needs to get with the program.

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Lonnie is a Terrier mix, the vet thinks maybe a Terrier and a Schipperke. Lonnie is my son’s dog…he and I went to the shelter and picked Lonnie out of a line-up. From the moment I saw the, then 5 year old little guy, with his big brown eyes and energetic spirit, I knew he was the one….so did my son. In a few months we will celebrate 5 years with Lonnie. I can’t imagine life without this guy. He makes me laugh. He can do several tricks and runs in circles when he knows it is time to go outside. I enjoy laying on the living room floor with this little guy laying next to me. He also enjoys a good massage and belly rub during our TV time. This dog isn’t spoiled, at all. Really. I promise.

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August of 2014, the family decided to get another dog. My daughter and I made a trip back to the local shelter. Rocky was a 1.5 year old brindle Boxer and not really sure what other breed, mix. I think maybe a lab? Really not sure, and Rocky isn’t saying. Rocky was the dog in the back of the kennel with his tail tucked between his legs, nervous to come to the fence so he could be pet. He wanted to, but he was scared. Come to find out, he had been an owner surrender, his first family couldn’t afford his care. He was then adopted and brought back, because another family dog didn’t get along with him. Poor guy. He needed a family to love. My daughter and I looked at each other. We knew this shy brindle was going to be our newest family member. After bringing Rocky home, it took a little while for him to not be so scared…..you’d never know it to look at him now! Rocky has a vicious bark and scares the delivery drivers, “I think he would eat me for lunch!”, but Rocky is a true love bug. He is content to run around the yard and play with his other furry friends, or lay at my feet while I’m sitting at the table. He has soulful brown eyes, and I swear he knows how great life is now, compared to what it was. He is grateful. I can feel it, and see it in his expression. I love this guy and am so happy we chose him……even if he has chewed up my solar lights, ripped up plants, and mauled all his toys. Such is the life of a dog owner.

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Lastly, is our little surprise, Mitford. Last September, Miss Sophia (the neighbor’s dog) and our Ace were the proud parents of six little bundles of joy. Sophia decided to have her precious pups up under our deck. We could hear them crying, so my daughter did an army crawl through the (very) narrow space under our deck to retrieve the puppies and bring them up on the deck where we could all admire them. Pudgy and blind, but we fell in love with them. We and the neighbors each kept a puppy and the rest were given to good homes. Mitford will celebrate his first birthday on the 29th of this month. He has the beautiful soft fur and curled up tail of his mama, and the coloring and size of his daddy. Mitford has enough energy for everyone. He is a natural “fetcher” and loves to chase–and bring back his toys for more. I love to pet him, as his fur is incredibly soft. He irritates his grumpy daddy with all his shenanigans, but loves running around with his buddy, Rocky.

Yes. I love dogs. I have always considered myself a dog person. I was fine with this title until about ten years ago…..then I married a cat person. Now, I’ve expanded my love to the feline persuasion too. I’ll blog about them in my next post.
God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25