Challenge #8, All Good Things Come To An End

“All good things come to an end”. I don’t know if I want to write about this today. I suppose I will, but only because it is part of the challenge. Sigh.

We’ve all heard this quote, saying, whatever, sometime in our lives. It is kind of depressing to me. Depressing because it is true, and I don’t want to think about the fact that it is true. We live in a world with a lot of endings. Sometimes endings are great, and freeing, and exciting, but most of the time endings hurt. They aren’t fun. It is not something that most of us look forward to. They happen anyway. It is the nature of things. Unfortunately.

People lose their jobs, or get fired. Or they quit. Then they wonder what in the world are they going to do next?!

Friends that you thought were going to be your besties for forever, fade. Life has a way of pulling people apart. Oh, it is not necessarily intentional it just happens. You know what I mean.

You get to a certain age, and it is no longer appropriate to wear the super cute clothes….because your body has revolted against you, and you no longer look super cute in those super cute clothes.

People you love get sick and they die, and against your will you are forced to say good-bye. Sometimes a loved one is in an accident or a sudden medical emergency and they are gone. Just. Like. That.

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Memories fade like a swirling mist. One day you think the good times, the happy times will last longer, should last longer, but much like that early morning mist, they dissipate.

With careers. With friends. With age. With love. With a million other things.

Life goes on though. There are more good times, and more memories to be made. It is the natural ebb and flow of life.

Understanding this makes one more aware of the precious moments when they happen.

 

 

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 #6, The Perfect View

Today’s challenge finds me describing what is outside my kitchen window.

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It is a chilly damp day, here in Ohio. We are currently in that “in between” time. Winter is pretty much over, but Spring has not yet shown up. We are in the gray time of the year. The grass is brown and dull, the sky is the color of slate, with a few breaks, where blue sky and sunshine leaks through. My gravel driveway has multiple mud puddles, that the dogs always seem to find. Across the road, and past my mailbox, I see some of the llamas grazing in the wet field. The trees, still barren and leafless, stretch their limbs into the sky, seemingly to scratch at the gray that surrounds them. They wait impatiently for new life. Beyond the grouping of trees, I see our farmer neighbor’s wetland lake. A low spot in his field has become home to wild ducks, geese, and frogs. I enjoy the orchestrated sounds of nature that I am able to hear each day.

What is outside your kitchen window?

Challenge #5, Before And After…

Yesterday’s challenge was my take on “Before and After”……

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Before I became a follower of Christ, I thought I was “good enough”. After, I understood I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I found love and I found redemption. I realized that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. My life changed…for all eternity.

Before I was married, I thought I understood what it meant to share, to compromise, to trust, to love. After, I knew what it was to create a life together, to put aside my pride and say “I’m sorry”, to show forgiveness, and to remain committed through both good and bad times…..because life has a fair share of both.

Before I was a mom, I thought I knew how to be a good parent. After, I understood love in a way I never understood it before. I laughed, I cried, my heart changed, and I happily gave my time, day in and day out, for this little one. Each year brings surprises, and each stage is a new adventure.

Before I was a teacher, I thought I knew what it was to run a classroom and be an excellent instructor. I would be planning assignments, and checking papers. After, I found out that teaching is more than students in a classroom, but young lives that looked to me for some answers in an otherwise confusing world. I learn as much from my students as they do from me. That is just the truth.

Before the deaths of my grandparents, husband, and father, I thought I understood how to grieve. After, I realized that grieving is different for everyone. Grief comes in waves like the ocean, and one must face those waves and move through them. There are good days, and there are bad days, and on some days all I could do was breathe.

Life is full of before’s and after’s. The older I get the more I realize that when I am standing in “the before” I rarely understand. Oh, it is easy to think I do, but life has a way of teaching lessons in the midst of “the after”. Valuable, cherished moments. Lessons learned.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

There Is Much To Be Thankful For

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I’m sitting on the couch, watching House episodes on Netflix with my husband. I’m wrapped up in my oversized Christmas sweater, and am enjoying sipping a coffee, as I contemplate. Itty Bitty, one of the long haired cats, is napping behind me, on the sofa table, as warm light pools on the living room floor. I can see the boxes that are filled with the decorations I took down this afternoon. The dishwasher is humming, the clothes dryer is going, and the dogs toys are scattered all over the floor. This is life at my house.

Today is also my anniversary. My husband and I will go out for a special dinner, leaving our adult children to forage for themselves on this night.  My husband and I have been married ten years already. That is hard to believe. Both of us had been widowed in our thirties, losing our first spouses at a young age. It was ten years ago on this very day, that I was reminded that God loves me….and that He is the extravagant Giver of second chances.

As the New Year approached in 2000, I didn’t know what the future would hold. Now, here I am 15 years later. A new life. A new purpose. A brand new year that I get to experience. I am blessed, and one of the greatest joys for me, and the most humbling, is understanding how blessed I am….not taking anything for granted. Things could be different for me. I know that. I try to remember to say thank you to God…..every single day. There really is so much to be thankful for.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

So Much To Do!

Some days are better than others. That is just a fact, isn’t it?

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It’s cold, cloudy, and damp

The chicken run, full of muck

When I went to turn

My boot got stuck!

My back is hurting

I can’t stand or sit.

This is bumming my day

I don’t like it one bit!

My to do list

is as long as my arm

So much to do

on our little farm.

I need to decorate

the Christmas tree

untangling lights

this is not for me!

I’ll take a deep breath

and do what I can

the rest can wait …

at least that’s the plan.

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Hoping your week will be a great one, even if it is busy and it makes you feel a little crazy! 102_4787

 

 

 

 

 

There Will Never Be Another Quite Like It

As October comes to an end, and November is a mere few hours away, I thought I’d repost a blog entry from a few years ago. My words came back to me, reminding me that time slips by so quickly.

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE

This afternoon the gray sky is moist. I feel the drops on my face as I rush to unload the groceries.IMG_0718

The wind is biting, and my thick sweater is not enough to protect against the late Fall temperatures.

I hurry to get inside to the warmth. The kitchen lights leave puddles on the counter top, as I quickly put groceries away.

Life is a blur, but I want to slow it down.

It’s Friday. November 22nd. 2013. This day will soon be gone, and there will never be another just like it……

Oh, how I wish I could live each day remembering this fact.

When the merry-go-round goes wild and the moments make me dizzy….

Slow down.

Yesterday, while making dinner I watched Ann Voskamp and Liz Curtis Higgs, “Christmas at the Farm”. (If you too,would like to see the Webcast, go here. ) These two ladies are inspiring. They gave me a gift. They took my hand, frazzled and worn, and led me to the Savior. Towards the end of the visit, Liz spoke of Luke 1:37. “Nothing is impossible with God.” That happens to be my very favorite Bible verse and I just knew she was talking to me personally.

Nothing. Not anything. Nothing big. Nothing small. N-O-T-H-I-N-G is impossible with God.

How many of us need to hear that today? At this very moment? Every day, a reminder?

The darkness is creeping around the edges of the late afternoon sky. 4:30 seems much later….almost time to start dinner.

But, even as the darkness descends, and the temperature plummets, I know this…

My moments are here and now, and God sees them and feels them all.

I can rest in the knowledge that there is no such thing as impossible with Him.

For with God nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37  KJV