Friday, December 14, 2007

Connect - ing

This is meant as something to resolve, not a gripe session.

Growing up in Seal Beach, well, no...let me rephrase that...as a young Christian adult there...I had a circle of friends that were great. Mostly young women like myself, there was something we each brought to the table of friendship...honesty, kindness, compassion, grace, joy...I could go on and on! Several of us got together weekly for accountability, but the best times were when we would stay up late, bearing out hearts, or sharing our faults, and encourage each other to grow to be more like Jesus. There are a few of us left...scattered as we are...married, divorced, broken, hurt and restored. We are bound in great ways...both by the memories of who God started with and the ways He has changed us, as well as the hours spent in prayer for each other and the ways He chose to answer those prayers.

Now, what I'm going to share is not ONLY in the Christian faith...I've met women of no faith, denominations within the Christian faith, and other religions all together (Mormon, Hindu, etc) that are living with the same issue. I don't think it's only women that are having this problem, but I don't spend much time talking to men, so I don't always know what they are thinking (OK, I know THAT shocked you!). :)

We are lonely.

We go to church, volunteer, join community groups, help in our kids classrooms, talk in the grocery store to anyone who will listen, call new friends in hope of building relationships, reach out to those hurting and in need. Some of us work "real" jobs, some work at home, some stay at home to accommodate families.

All of us feel completely alone in a room full of people. Most of us know people, but long to know people deeper, real-er, in a more genuine way. We want to be completely honest, in a loving kind way. We want to be accepted, warts and all, and we want to love others, warts and all.

So why is it that we can't do this?? It's as if everyone is pointing at us, stating that we are weird, foreigners, that we don't belong. YET THERE ARE SO MANY OF US!! Slowly we run into each other...and we do connect...but slowly we are (as a society "we") forgetting how to connect. We are losing the ability to fellowship...share each other's burdens....how to have fun together...

Somehow there must be an answer to all of this, and I KNOW that Jesus is in the midst of it all. Oh, to take it all to Him in prayer....

Friday, December 7, 2007

'Tis the season....

Well, that's what they say...over and over....the problem is, that I'm just not much in the mood for Christmas. At least not the commercial one.

Jessica and Joshua have been gone for almost a year now...the last time we put up lights, decorated the tree, sent out cards...they were here! THEY decorated the tree (if I remember correctly, I would have been fine without one then too...) and she kept me motivated to do cookies and fudge and all the other treats that they could get here and not take with them. Now they are "there" and I ship them things for her to make "traditional" foods to share. Who knew that butterscotch chips and dried cranberries would be hot commodities...??

Melissa, Ryan and Adaya are safely tucked into their NY place...only a few weeks and they'll head back to Pittsburgh, PA to do interview #2 and preaching in front of everyone. They should know that day if he's go the job. I just want God's will. I want them to get to stay in one place for several years and put down some roots. I want them to make friends, people of all ages, and to be joyful and GROW. Yes, I know that I'll miss them not being close by, but they could be an hour away and I'll still miss them....that just happens with me.

Jason has a girlfriend. She's from Brazil. I wonder where he'll end up. I don't worry about it, I just wonder. He has finals next week, and she will head back to Brazil for the break. It's going to be a long month...

I volunteered at the hospital this week...and went back today for their Christmas luncheon. Hmm...I wonder if it was really a "holiday" luncheon. No matter. I was the youngest woman there in the Auxiliary (no one told me that, it was just easy to tell) :) I enjoy meeting the ladies, and getting reaquainted with some of them. I love to hear some of the workers (adminsitration, pr, etc) exclaim "Marina's back!". I'm glad. I'm glad that they are glad. It feels good, and it's fun. I don't care that I'm 47 and everyone else is....well, I don't even want to guess how old they are...but I know that most of them have ALL gray hair as a natural color, and that Mr. Rooney is now 94. I heard several women say that they have recently had new babies in their family, and they were ALL GREAT GRANDMA's. I guess I am the youngest in the group. That's ok.

They say that we'll have ice this weekend...it seems as if it's fact, and not a guess. The only guess is when it will happen...and that's always a question. Today I did shopping...milk, eggs, bread, cheese....you name it. Not only did I buy in case we really do get an ice storm, I bought because Jason will be home in a week....IF we get really iced in, at least we'll have food to feed him for a day or two. :)

I don't know if I have a cold, or allergies. Ugh. My nose goes from sniffling to sneezing, and my eyes feel tired and the size of peas...always a bad sign. sigh. I took an allergy pill, and it must have worn off since I'm at it again. Perhaps some ibuprofen will work....that would be nice. That and some tea....ah, that will be nice. Mark should be home soon and we're supposed to go to Rogers, AR to do some shopping...finishing up the grocery shopping and to buy some Christmas Cards....AAGH....again. I want to make my own, but I don't have the enthusiasm to do it...why? I have great ideas, the right things to say, even colors to do them in...but no motivation. *sigh* I need to finish this quilt top (and then quilt it too) but I lack the motivation to do that also. OH, and tomorrow I'm supposed to get together with a friend who is craving Christmas....she wants to get in the mood for the season...

And all I want to do is hunker down...cuddle up...sleep in....perhaps quilt and watch an old movie (the only way I can sit long enough to quilt!!). I'll enjoy her company and go along for the ride. I'll celebrate the season with her because she is my friend...and it will be the only time we can get together for a while...

and that will be nice....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A new day...an old activity...

I don't know what makes the difference...is it really just a matter of putting things on the calendar that makes me feel better? Whatever it is, I'm grateful to have the cloud of depression lifting...a few things that I'm sure have helped:
1. Prayer (I probably don't need to put down anything else, but I'm sure that some of you are skeptics....so I'll put the other practical things down too...) God is SO good.
2. Sunshine (and getting my face, no SPF, out in it!)
3. Volunteering (ok, you need to read more to get the whole picture on this one)
4. Sleeping well...quantity AND quality!

On the volunteering thing...it's not just about getting involved with a group that takes me out of my circumstances, to see that there are others in need, etc, but also the physical thing of getting dressed up, getting out of the house, and coming into contact with other people. It's about having things to look forward to, putting things on a calendar and planning, and being a part of a bigger thing.

So, today I went to the Cox Monett Auxiliary Luncheon! I was involved with them for about 3 years (about 5 years ago), and had remembered how nice it was there (how nice most of the people were too) and the fun things we did while there. I usually volunteered in the gift shop, and my old day was available, so I snagged that up. :) I'll also train to work in the other areas (Info desk, etc) and get involved in a few new things that are coming up....things like a patient lending library, and a POP Cart (Pampering Our Patients).

It felt good to be there again, and I saw many new faces...which is always great. I look forward to getting in the shop and wrapping gifts up for all the folks (and there are a LOT of cute things in there...of course!!) and making balloon bouquets for the patrons too. If you are in the area, stop in and make a big, tax free purchase!!

Jason's not arrived home yet, but he might be going straight to work when he gets in town...I sort of feel out of the loop on it...but I'm not worried. We'll take him to dinner tonight to celebrate his birthday, and I'm sure he'll just slip into the work/eat/sleep schedule like he never left....time will tell...

I'm going to get outside and practice some of that sunshine (as prescribed above) while I can...

Monday, November 19, 2007

It started 20 years ago ...












20 years ago, NOW, I was giving birth to Jason!! I can hardly believe that the time has flown by so quickly...

He was SO laid back, even from birth. He was a good baby, the BEST eater, and besides the bad bouts of ear infections, upper respiratory infections (now I think asthma too) and a major allergic drug reaction, he was pretty healthy for most of his young life. Gosh, it sounds like a lot to put it all on paper...but he was a rough and tumble boy.

He split my lip open on more than one occasion...Mark taught him to "head butt" and forgot to teach him not to do it to mom...LOL.

I don't think he ever had stitches, but broke his arm from getting thrown from a horse! He broke it again a few years later (the other one?? a different spot??) but I can't remember how. Probably during some sporting event...that would be par for his course.

Jason's been such a joy in life. I wanted a son SO badly, and I admit, I wanted him to be a "momma's boy" in every sense of the word. For the most part, he was, except when it came to sports, where he followed his dad's lead by being VERY athletic, and succeeding in EVERY sport he tried. He didn't get that from me!!

So, today he turns 20...and I am so proud of all he has accomplished in his life already...and so excited for all his life has to hold in the future!!
From GA to MO, deep Mexico to Kenya, may you always seek after God and the things that please Him...
Happy Birthday Jason!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The closest to a top 10 I'll ever get...

It started in the bathtub...I had seen something the other day that just REALLY bugged me, and I remembered in the the tub last night....a church marquee that said "Too blessed to be depressed!". OOOOhhhhh.....they REALLY have NO CLUE what depression is about, do they?? Grrr...
So for all my depressed friends, Christian or otherwise, please forgive them...they really don't mean to be so...well...mean.
For all my Christian friends who are NOT depressed (blessed, or otherwise), please understand...depressed people do not feel that they are not blessed...it's so much different than that. They/I/we (yes, I've had my share of seasons in severe depression...) KNOW that there are so many things to be thankful for, that we ARE blessed, that we are LOVED, that we matter to God. The problem is, in our minds, it makes no difference at all.
At times, it's like a wet blanket that covers us, and we can not get it off of us, no matter how hard we try. Everything is slower, in slow motion, with this gloom that just hangs over us. Sometimes it's that WE don't care, and WE can't help it. Sometimes it's like being submerged in water...drowning....we can see it's daylight out...a BRIGHT sunny day!! We know we have that last breath of air in our lungs, fresh clean air. However, knowing that, and being able to take a breath of the air out there, is two different things....we can't get through the water for the air. That's how this week has been for me.
I could make a list a mile long for all the things I'm thankful for. Things as simple as a good home, healthy family, clean drinking water and indoor plumbing! However the things that loom in my mind get the best of me...and there's not enough room to write all those things down, and I refuse to go there besides in prayer...but none the less...it's a season of depression for me.

I think I knew it would be hard this winter, but I had no idea it would be THIS hard. Missing Jessica is crazy. I'm worried (no, concerned, as I know there's nothing I can do for them) about my other kiddos, and then the normal depleated sunlight and colder weather just make me normally want to hunker down with some good, white dough carbs and call it a siesta...hybernation is here. *sigh*

Oh, don't worry, I don't have the guts (literally or figuratively) to call it quits...but it has occured to me that this is WAY too much pain to be feeling for the normal happy person. Tears come too easy....about everything. ABOUT ANYTHING. And I'm in a constant discussion with God, so I can't draw any closer to Him...He's here, with me, walking me through this muck and mire. I can rest in His arms and hear His heart beating....I'm clinging to him so much lately.

So don't go throwing some "too blessed to be depressed" crud at me....you just have NO idea. you are completely clueless. get some compassion...or empathy...or drugs...whatever you need to get educated on what depression is really like. period.

On other topics...oh, I LOVE the new word I learned from the Dec. Reader's Digest Word Power: "bobo n - A: online posting error. B: bourgeois bohemian. C: devoted friend. (turn page) bobo - [B] Person who espouses bohemian values while living a bourgeois lifestyle. The road was lined with the luxury cars of bobos buying organic produce." HA!! I know a few of these!! I'm RELATED to a few too!! : p

On missing Jessica...after taking care of Kelsey for a few days (well, overnight and a day), I missed Jessica more...in a different way. I really miss Jess. I miss her 2 ways (at least) often. One way is that I miss my friend...the one who would sit and craft with me, listen and share opinions, encouragement, laughs...really connect with me. The one I missed more this week is "Jessica the child" that I will never get back...the fact that she grew up. I think that's the normal "empty nesting" of missing a child...I miss her not cuddling up on the couch with me; needing me to "rub her arm, her back, her face" to fall asleep; the wonder of her imagination and curiosity....THAT Jessica will not ever be back. *sigh* What the heck do I do with that?? Get a puppy again (GASP, NO, I did NOT just say that).

The adult Jessica I miss would be pulling the decorations out of the boxes right now, insisting on decorating (i.e.: it's what she did LAST year when I was too depressed to care about decorating). She'd have the recipe box torn apart, with a list of all the cookies we'll bake this year (with a few new one's I'm sure). She'd have the weather reports scouted daily looking for snow (well, she may be doing that at home, although I know she got a bit of sun the other day as she sat outside during the sports day competitions there). She'd cry with me when I cry, get out White Christmas to watch with me on a quiet morning, talk about watching Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, and any other old movie from her childhood. She'd coax me out for a walk. Hug me. Hug me again. Dry my tears. Pray for me. WITH me. *sigh*

It's clearly time for another bath and a nap...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

On being a "Happy Camper"...





I couldn't tell you the last time I slept in a tent...well, before last night!




YAY...Mark and I went camping! : ]




I admit, I was a bit hesitant...but work has been so hard for him, and I told myself that "whatever he wants to do, I'll do, without complaining" (that WAS the hard part), and when I came home from helping out at the Cassville Library (face painting for their "Breakfast with the Pokey Little Puppy") he had all the camping gear packed up, and was ready to go. We were going to just "go and see" if we wanted to stay and camp *duh* and of course, we did.




It was beautiful. We went to the White River area that is near Bull Shoals Dam (and lake) and although it was sunny when we left home, it was overcast there, but still nice out. We had thought it was only a 20% chance of rain for today, but the woman in the camping office said that there was a 30% chance last night (and it rained lightly for a brief time this morning). The new tent worked out great, and we didn't get cold in our OLD sleeping bags. The air mattresses were a REAL blessing (my back didn't hurt a bit!).




I woke up a few times, once to the sound of the kids playing on the other side of the campground, once to the sound of critters playing in a bag of candy we left out (on accident!), and once to the sound of light sprinkles on the top of the tent (oh, i woke to Mark's snoring a few times too...but that's normal!) I had a bunch of weird dreams...one that Jason was camping with us, one that there was a possum in our tent (there was one by our campsite when we were at eating dinner)...funny things pop up in odd spaces like that.




The river was beautiful, the fall color spectacular, and although it was actually a lot of work in a short trip, but it was worth it. I'm so glad that Mark talked me in to it. I'm ready to go again (although, only if the weather is as nice as it was this weekend!!).


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Getting on the ball...

Ok, it's a misleading title...I'll warn you right now...

I don't want to "get on the ball" with issues in my life (go figure), although I am looking forward to getting involved back at Cox Monett as a volunteer. Part of that is helping, and part of it is being involved with a group of people that I have genuinely enjoyed being with in my life, and another part is getting to wrap all those gifts! AHA! A creative outlet.

The other "getting on the ball" thing involves where I am right now...physically...ON A BALL. :) After my chiropractor visit the other day (hmmm?...was it Monday?) and trying to put 2 and 2 together on why my heal hurts so much, so often, when I'm not doing things that should make it hurt...like walking (so it's NOT bone spurs!). It ALWAYS hurts after getting up in the morning (and I don't walk in my sleep) and it often hurts after sitting, or riding in the car, and ALWAYS hurts after sitting in the bar stools at the kitchen counter.

I can always get it to feel better by doing the stretches for my back that the good Dr. Runnels gave me.

So, the idea is, I have a pinched nerve from when I slipped the disc in my back last spring. When it's pinching, is when that L 3-5 area is out of whack...OR when I'm sitting cockeyed with the back of my left knee being tight (i.e. the bar stool...where I always sit with one leg tucked under me!). So part of the time (like at the computer) it is from not having back support, and part of the time it's from pinching that nerve myself (with my fat knees...sigh).

So, to help that, I'm at my computer on my "exercise ball". To sit on it while typing, to jump and rock on it while "surfing" has helped a LOT. It's helping me when I exercise to strengthen my body's core, but even just sitting still on it is helping me by being able to keep my feet on the floor (I have short legs and the chairs are always too big), to keep my back straight and posture good, and to somehow take the pressure off of my lumbar region (which is odd, as I obviously don't have any back support while I'm on it!). We'll see what the long term effects are, and I hope that it is all good!

Regarding the rest of my life, I'm waking up too early again, and spending a lot of time in prayer for my kids...some of them are facing difficult situations in life...physically, spiritually, and in the most basic of needs.

My oldest daughter just found out yesterday that her husband's ministry has ended (who lets a youth pastor go just 3 weeks after he has a baby as you enter into the holiday season??). I'm so grateful that they have soft, pliable hearts, and that God is so evident in the situation to them. I'm so glad that they are heartbroken to leave people that they have come to love by serving them...it shows that they have loved well. I'm thankful that their faith has grown, and that they see the good that has taken place during their "season" there.

However, I'm really upset that "man" still takes the reigns away from God in some places, especially church. grrr. I know that my kiddo's (and grandkiddo) will do fine...and grieve for the young Christians there that see "mature" Christians making bad decisions...what a discouragement...

So, lots of prayers. For their future, the place/job/ministry that God wants them to be in. That they will be patient and wait on options, and benefits, and not jump at the first thing that comes available, and that they ask for opinions of others before they commit. Also that wherever they go will be fruitful, and that they see God opening the doors (and closing others), and are able to be in a place for a long time to see the fruit of their labors. And a biggie...that there are other Godly people their age to fellowship with, and that the leadership will be spiritually mature, passionate about Jesus and the people they serve...that they will have the ability to mentor them spiritually and personally, to be good parents, to continue to grow in their personal walks.

Not much to ask for, is it??

me

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Coming Home...

This photo was taken the night before we left...it was so bittersweet to say good-bye to Melissa and Ryan, and Adaya. I know that they are in the Lord's hands, and that they will do just fine with the things they will face. It's all natural for each of us (single or married) to deal with the trials that we face with the best that we have.

Even coming home, and being at home, has it's own "stuff" for me to deal with. Still not having a church where we feel completely comfortable, me not being connected in the way I desire to be, and a host of issues from things going on at Mark's job all present the possibilities for real problems. We'll rest in God's arms, hold on to our hat, and let Him move IN and THROUGH us in a way that I hope we are being matured in our Christian walks. When the day is said and done, I hope that we can say we tried our best to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It's all we can hope for.

So, we hope the same for our kids. They are young, still impressionable, but as we keep praying for them we continue to see the answers to those prayers. That's a good thing. We aren't asking for real specifics, but in general terms...for wisdom, discernment, commitment....things that will show in their lifetime as wise investments of character. God's growing in them...and around them too.

So, we miss them...but know that in His time we will be closer, for seasons at a time. I'm excited to see how He grows them into a mom and dad, and to see how Jesus' love grows in Adaya's life. How exciting is that?!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

On being a Grandma....

It's been so long since I've been here, but it's only because I've been so busy!

I became a grandma on 10/19, at 4:45 am, and have not been the same since! I never could have imagined how much this child could have changed my thoughts, my habits, my ideas.

My daughter is a great mom...nursing...trying to do everything the best she can do. I'm so proud of the way she went through labor, keeping the faith and allowing her body to react and respond the way it was meant to. Even the midwife said that she did an amazing job! YAY!!

It shows in her daughter now...she's often totally aware of everything going on around her. She's alert, trys so hard to "talk" by making little gurgle sounds deep in her throat, and if she's awake she's constantly moving her arms around....she'll talk with her hands (hmmm...no idea where she gets THAT from ; } )

Ryan's doing a great job as dad....and I know that he'll grow into the job as she grows too. : )

Mark is a great grandpa...holding her tenderly, loving on her as often as he can. It will be hard for us to leave in a few days.

For now, we'll continue to enjoy her, them, seeing them become a family. I'm sure that they will change after we leave....allowing them to really bond with each other without us hovering over their every move (or her every sound).

I can hardly wait to see them all again, to see how much they have grown, and how they all have changed....

For now, I'll savor these special days....making memories to last a lifetime...

Monday, October 8, 2007

It's a tough week...


No matter how distracted I get with my life, this is ALWAYS one of the toughest weeks in my year....the week leading up to my birthday.

I'm already missing the normal effects of sunlight...our days are so much shorter, and it's happened so quickly! It seems to happen faster and faster each year. *sigh*

Then it's a week full of anniversary's...not good wedding ones, but sad "missing people who have died" ones. My mom, Frances Derderian Peters, died when I was almost 13. Then, just a few years ago, one of the girls that worked at the library with me, Amanda, died in a car accident on her way back to Cassville after the football game in a neighboring town. She was just 17, full of life. It was as if one of my own children had died...we were that close.

Now, this very evening, we got a call from Mark's mom, that her mother, Mark's "Nana" has died. She turned 100 last month, a life full of love and memories and joy. But still...it's sad to think that we won't see her in a few weeks...that we won't get that 5 generation photo when Melissa's baby arrives in a few weeks.

Still I'm grateful that we got to see her last spring, when we were out there. We had a great visit, and she was so much fun, with Mark and his brother Tom there together.

Someday I will see this week as the week leading up to my birthday, leading up to Melissa's baby's birthday, and not miss all those that have gone before me...but not now...not this year. It's still a sad time for me...just reflective of what God is doing in nature...

I'm grateful that my hope is in the fact that "joy comes in the morning" as surely it will arrive. And if not in the morning, in the spring...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Instant Gratification

I love to paint....I love to watercolor, but NEVER do it (even though Mark afforded me the splurge to purchase and easle and supplies a year ago or so...). My favorite painting is WALLS!! ROOMS!! I'm sure the guys at Lowe's think I'm crazy. I know my husband KNOWS I am!! (he HATES to paint, but likes the results...usually).

The need to create and change amazes me. That's what I love about most of my hobbies and interests...INSTANT GRATIFICATION. Preparing to paint is boring...like cleaning house. Yes, it's an immediate change, but it's temporary. Any mom knows how quickly the room that took you all day to get picked up can again be destroyed. But painting a wall, or an entire room STAYS painted!! Even all of a college kids' clutter for a weekend break will not ruin that!

So, today I paint. The Marina Way. I'll take an area at a time...pick up and put away the clutter, move the furniture, paint the wall. Take a little break, and do it again. I'm hoping to schedule the heaviest stuff to hit RIGHT as Mark comes home for lunch. 8 } I know he'll do that gladly, as long as I don't put a brush in his hand.

I've got Sirius Spirit on the satellite (at least until the storms roll in this afternoon) and I'm ready to roll...it will be a good day of worship and wonder. Worship will come along with the painting....and WONDER will come with the thought of why can't I change as quickly (and as permanently) as the walls in this room?? That will be my prayer for today....to allow God to change this in me...and that the changes on my inside will be as visible on my outside by my actions and re-actions. Change me. I want instant gratification for my Heavenly Father as He works on ME.

Monday, October 1, 2007

letter to my mom age friend...#1 8 \


WARNING: I'm on a soapbox here. If you don't want to be offended, don't read this one.


I don’t know what God will do about us and church. *sigh* I’m really tired of hitting my head against this same wall. I JUST came in from reading outside, and I’m about at the end of “Blue Like Jazz”…it’s such an easy and interesting read. I don’t agree with him on everything, but I do on many things. It’s interesting because I was just thinking of blogging on this very topic….(church)….and how I feel and what I want and what I need.

For a long time we went to a church here that didn’t reach out in community at all. I was suffering physically, and no one listened to my cries for help, no one offered to help at all. It wasn’t until after surgery (after hemorrhaging for 40 days one summer) that the entire women’s group of maybe 30 women offered to bring dinner one night…AFTER I was back home from surgery. All I could think of was “too little, too late”. My family could have used help all summer long, but no one took time to get to know there was a need, or they ignored us all together.

Then for a few years I went to a church that was great about reaching out when there was a need…but not when there was NO need. I guess I learned that in TRUE community we are supposed to reach out all the time. Keep reaching out. You don’t have to be lying on the side of the road to have a need. So many are hurting on the inside, are lonely, are recovering, or are just beginning to suffer.

I want to reach out, constantly. Not in a busy-body way, but in a way that others know that I am here for them. I am not the Savior, but in my wanting to be “the hands and feet of Jesus” in community, I can point others to THE WAY. Not to “church” but to Jesus. I think that’s often how we lose focus…we get so wrapped up in the numbers game of bringing people to church, or pointing them to church, or selling them on church, that we forget to show them Jesus.

When Jesus isn’t living in the church, it’s easy to lose site of the reason you are there. When you keep bringing Him in, and others keep pushing Him out and making it about “the church” and “the numbers” then I get weary. They are good people. Some of them are very committed to Jesus and love Him very much and do a lot for the body of Christ, but they don’t get the BIGGER PICTURE…. The part about loving our enemies, or even liking the people in the church next door, or feeding the ones that vote differently than you, or the ones that despise the fact that we worship Jesus at all….and this is where the book has brought that back out in me. It put words to my feelings. I’d rather do all the right things in community, and not go to church, than to go to church and only do the right things there.

I want people to love me NOT because I can cook for youth, or finance a program, or arrange meals for a widow, or house a youth. I want them to love me because I love Jesus. PERIOD. Reach out to those that are healthy, not just sick. Do things when it’s NOT expected. Reach beyond the walls of the church. Be a movement, not a building, not a denomination, not a program. BE.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Letter to my college age friend #1


You are such a sweetie....thank you for your kind words, your compassionate heart, and for being willing to be REAL with me. :) You know what I mean. ;) Us Ragamuffins need to stick together.
WOE to the woman that marries Jason....(heehee)j/k I pray for whoever that will be all the time...and that she will be equipped to compliment his drive/vision/passion.
Our prayer for our kids (from the start) was for them to be stronger in their faith and walk closer with God that Mark or I ever would/could be (since we were not raised in Christian homes), KNOWING that the "next generation" would be facing toughter times than what we've known. We've also prayed this for "their spouses" (whoever they would have been) since they would have to have a equally yoked home, not only in "just" believing but in strength of passion to serve God. That they would ALWAYS love God more than our kids (since that's the only true measure of what real love is). (sorry...found a soapbox there...)
You are a blessing, and I look forward to getting together...talking ANY time you'd like. Remember, you DO get it. YOU have the key to the rest of the story, and you know it for a reason...it's just going to be a matter of time before God reveals why you know it...Christianity is a journey, not a destination. It might (like me) take years to figure out what we are supposed to do with it/on this road...I still am not sure. Just keep seeking His word...falling in love with Him daily and walking as close to obedience (but not legalism) as you can. Be the hands and feet of Jesus...the words of Jesus. Love. Compassion. Serve. Sacrifice. The rest of it will come together in His timing.
Sometimes I figure that the empty spaces in my life, the times I'm struggling to find more of Jesus in others and feeling VERY alone, are the times that He is able to do amazing things around me/in me/through me. If I was too caught up in the "busy-ness" of the norm, the everyday, I would have missed out on the AMAZING.
That's how this weekend was for me. All I did was show up to help cook (not even plan, organize, instrument, facilitate, etc...just help). What God did was show me that so many of the kids that I had week long friendships with 6-10 years ago (while cooking or serving at Maranatha back when they were in Jr/Sr High) were recieving a bit of what I was sharing...that when I felt like I was loving them like my own kids, that they were being loved like they were my kids...and that it made a difference (even if it was scolding them to turn off their flash lights and go to sleep in the dorms...) :). God's so good. I'm so grateful I got to experience this weekend. It was healing for me...

Friday, September 28, 2007

letter to J/J #1

Hi guys. It’s me, mom (haha..you knew that). I can’t sleep (figures, it’s a full moon…and dad’s snoring away…and my back’s bothering me…not what I had planned for the night before leaving for camp!). sigh

There’s not much going on here…it was really pretty today. I met Char for lunch in town at Aunt Cathy’s Cookies (they do sandwiches there too…and baked potatoes and soups). I had a pastrami sandwich…it was ok…sort of thin on the meat, but ok. Char had a bowl of soup…broccoli cheese. Neither of us had a donut!

Then at noon she had an appt. at the dentist and I went over to meet Pam for our normal Thursday afternoon get-together. Originally we were planning on working on her scrapping room, but it was so pretty outside that she suggested going to Roaring River for a walk…but by the time we got out the door from our house (I had to go get shoes, and we left my car home) we settled on walking the greenway trail. It was still nice. Then we picked up Kelsey from pre-school (a free program over by the middle school…it used to be in the white house on the highway/main st.) and she was all cute and happy to see me….it was funny. SHE REMINDS ME SO MUCH OF YOU IT’S SCARY SOMETIMES. Especially when she is all cute and quiet. You know that she’s got stuff going through her mind, this little twinkle in her eye…just like YOU used to get. It was sweet.

Anyways, they dropped me off, and I came home and waited for dad to get home for his softball game…a few hours passed (what did I do during that time??....gosh, I have no idea…). OH, I cleaned the outside refrigerator to get it ready for the chicken that he brought home for me to take out to camp, and straightened the kitchen up.

Then dad came home, changed, and we went to El Mariachi for dinner (we split the Tacos de Azada) and went to his game….where they went into extra innings tied, and ended up losing 11-12! I talked on the phone to Opa (he said to say hello) and we came home after the game…hit an owl (well, it hit us)…and that’s it.

They are widening the intersection at hwy 37 and W…putting in turn lanes and making it the way it should have been done in the first place. The feed mill is about done, so there are more trucks going through there now too. The runner/driver job is open again, and they are having to hire someone to drive a street sweeper at the feed mill full time too (on top of all the other jobs). I’m not sure what Dad’s working on…but he’s busy.

I can’t believe that I leave for camp tomorrow…I’m so NOT ready for this. I know that there will be a lot to do, but a lot of helpers too…she said that a lot of the students come in and help. She (Joyce Embree) was disappointed that I didn’t know how to run the washer/sanitizer, but I’m sure we can figure it out….I had always left that up to you kids so I never remembered how to use it. I have a feeling that I’ll figure it out and be in there all weekend, which is fine too. I’m just along to deliver the chicken, and help however she needs help. I’m trying not to be very possessive about this, and go along with the flow, but with 250 expected I’m a bit scared….she has it planned to BBQ chicken on Saturday night for dinner on a charcoal grill….it sounds good, but the dynamics of trying to keep the chicken from burning on the outside and staying juicy (but completely cooked) on the inside baffle me. And she’s doing it with baked potatoes…so the ovens will all be used already (so we can’t cook the meat in there if it needs to be…). I may throw my roasters in the trunk just in case….

I can be so anal about stuff like that…how did I get this way?? GRrrrr……

Sigh

Oh I wish I could sleep….I think I’ll copy this whole letter…well, most of it…and post it at my blog. That will save some time!

Not much else is up…at all. No news from Melissa…or Jason (besides him not playing rugby, and needing to improve his economics grade, which I think I already sent to you…).

That’s it. Oh, I got a nice letter from Spring…the girl from China who is in college in Singapore. She’s busy with classes, will graduate next lunar year, hopes to come to the US someday, but will look for work in Singapore first….she’s getting a complicated business degree there. It will be interesting to see where she ends up.

Well, I guess I’ll close now…love you, and thinking of you always…

mom

Monday, September 24, 2007

play.blogger is my new hobby...??

Ok, it just started...it's all because I read one of those notices that Google (or whoever) sends you to let you know about the new "features" you have access to. This caught my eye for more than one reason...one was that it was about photographs and recent uploads...and two was because it was about ANY of the public uploads that we post...they all go through a site that they have, they actually sit around and look at all of our recently uploaded photos/graphics/etc and then you can go and watch them too at: http://play.blogger.com/

Ok, so it's sort of creepy to think that when we post photos that others can watch them, and then it's sort of cool that we can watch what everyone else deems to be public uploads.

Maybe it's from being brought up on years of family slide shows...but it's sort of cool. I've not been offended by anything (which surprised me...I admit), and mostly it's photos of babies, people, landscapes and some guy surfing (which is sort of nostalgic). The landscapes are showing bits of fall color, so I'm guessing someone is posting from farther north than where I am (we don't have a touch of color yet). It's good to see.

So, when you are really bored...and too tired to play games or read on line papers, you too can watch everyone else's slide show....

Fall

The Autumn Equinox took place the other morning, with little to-do about it. The weather has been flip-flopping between "still summer" and "brrr...". Although the water in the pool is too cold to go in to swim, it's frequently nice to sit outside by it and enjoy the warm sun (now almost always accompanied by a breeze).

True to my history, I'm ready to bake! Today I rearranged the kitchen cupboards, moving things from one side of my kitchen to another, wiping down the shelves, rearranging the pantry to be mostly for baking supplies (out of sight, out of mind?) and bringing the items into the kitchen that we use more often (canned vegetables, soups, etc).

I even moved the plates and bowls from a bottom shelf to the pull out drawer that's under the silverware drawer! A bold move I know, and Mark will have a hard time getting used to it, but it will save my back and shoulders when I'm unloading the dishwasher. I saw it in a BH & G magazine that was featuring ideas on getting organized.

Tis the season!! Tomorrow I'm picking up the paint (taupe) to do some odd painting around the house, a wall here (my office area) and there (one bathroom wall, and one wall in the living room!), and perhaps I'll finish out the week with getting the rest of the WHITE white painted around the house...I thought I was out of that paint until Mark found a gallon of it out in the shed. It should be enough to get the rest of the living room painted, with the one taupe/brown wall too. Hmmm...maybe two walls should be that color??

Mark and I rarely agree on tv to watch...if it's on at all. He's happy to watch anything, but prefers to watch adventure/war/action movies, sports, anything else. IF I have the tv on (and I'm content to keep it off!) I like to laugh...so comedy, romantic comedy, then go to the documentary non-fiction stuff that I like to read...even cooking shows and decorating and renovation programs. That's where we have gotten together...shows like "Flip this House" and the like where there are drastic changes made within the hour long show (or just 1/2 hour remodeling shows). I think that it's helping us to see that there is a lot we can do to this house, without doing a LOT to it!!

It will be nice to have things settled in for the winter months. New paint completed, the plants and fountains moved in (hmmm...both running in the house? or just for decor??). Just to get the plants in will be great!

Then there's that nagging issue of BAKING. I love to bake (almost as much as I love to eat!!). I have a bunch and a half of just turning brown bananas...as I was cleaning down in the kitchen I kept smelling their ripeness...and thinking "mmmm...banana bread...with LOTS of walnuts and cinnamon....mmmm". I think that will have to be the top item "to do" on my list. :)

I can smell it already....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

needing sleep

My time clock is all messed up! Well, I'm able to go to bed normally...around 11 at night...but I have been waking up early in the morning...usually around 4...with back pain, too many thoughts (my son is playing rugby now...yipes!), and end up just laying in bed...trying to adjust my back out of pain without waking up Mark. *sigh*

Mark's alarm goes off at 6, and some days (like today) I'm able to just stay in bed till then, but other mornings I'm out of bed long before his alarm goes off. Usually I get on line to see if anyone else around the world in my circle of friends is up....usually not. That's ok, as I've gotten lots of free digi-scrapbooking stuff downloaded and organized 8D

They are finishing building a feed mill near our home, and by 7 the machinery is going...it must be the paving machines on the road...this odd vibration of airwaves that reminds me of the droning of jet airplane engines. So, like now, I'm feeling that I should try earplugs or something just to get away from this sound...

Hmmm...it means stepping away from the computer...but perhaps I'll just go to the basement part of the house and hang out there! Ah...maybe a little tv down there...a nap on the couch...hmmm this is starting to sound like a good plan!

Perhaps I'll write more later today...I'll be out of town the next few days...so it might be the weekend before I'm on again....

blessings!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A good sense of humor...

I think that God has a sense of humor...
I see that He sometime leads people to believe that their baby is one sex during pregnancy, then it ends up being the other...
I know that He sees us through the difficult choices we make (or situations we bring upon ourselves) and wonders "what was SHE THINKING?"
He gave ME, the total non-competitive non-athletic person; a husband that loves sports and a son who plays them all!

I'm amazed that I survived Jason's high school years (which was almost as bad as the several years that we had 3 kids in sports all at the same time but on different teams). I don't know what Mark was thinking to sign up to play softball now....although it IS funny to watch the team playing...I'm sure it wasn't my sense of humor that encouraged him to do it.

I'm grateful each Thursday night he plays, that he is able to walk off the field....a little bruised and battered, and sore the next day....but he's walking!

At least they guys ON the field were laughing as hard as we were in the stands...

Thanks God, for sharing your sense of humor with us....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I guess I'm still "deceased"...

...well, at least according to the rest of the graduating class of '77 from NHS. Grrr...it's frustrating sometimes, and other times it means nothing to me at all...but at the 20 year reunion someone listed me (in error...a joke??) as deceased. I supposedly died in a bar fight, which if you knew me in high school (well, if you THOUGHT you knew me) would make sense. If you REALLY knew me you'd realized how screwed up I was because of my circumstances. I'm not trying to blame ANYONE, but truth is, girls that go through a lot of the things I went through generally will make the same decisions that I did, and end up the way I was. That's why it's easy for one of "us" to pick "us" out of a crowd.

Well, by the time the reports of my demise were disclosed, I had been all cleaned up (by the grace of God and a lot of environmental changes). No longer the life of "sex, drugs, rock and roll" that I lived in the late 70's and early 80's...my life has been pretty boring in comparison now (to most Californian's). Sorry folks...no wild orgies here.

So, when I contacted the folks (SURPRISE!!) that organized this reunion (our 30th) I thought that a retraction of some sort was going to be printed....at least remove me from the deceased list!! But, no, I've just found out that I'm still listed there....*sigh*

I suppose it's not that big a deal...in a lot of ways that person IS dead...I'm not much like that anymore (although "once an addict always an addict..."), and more than boring my life is REALLY relaxing....with bursts of change thrown in there for excitement. I figure I'm living life now through my kids, and in the next few years things will get really exciting...with a grandbaby due in NY, kids studying overseas, traveling to catch up with them wherever they end up.

But, hey....could they at least acknowledge that I'm alive??

Oh well...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

What a great weekend!!


Mark had the weekend off, and he and I took off for Springfield on Saturday, despite the threats of rain. We had some shopping errands to run, a few "window wishing" places to stop, and of course, had hoped to see Jason for a good visit. We had to meet with him to get our canoe (he had borrowed it the weekend before), and play mail delivery person to get his mail to him that had been delivered here.
Jason had enough of his homework done to have dinner with us, and join us for the soccer game over at MSU. His roomie plays on the team (GOOOOO BRENT!!) and there was a group of the International Students that were planning on meeting us over there...so after a great dinner at the Rib Crib, we headed on over there to the stadium. Jason's International friends were there already, flagging him down, and we got to sit with them and root the Bear's soccer team on.
It was so much fun to talk with these young men, all of them from the MSU exchange program with one of their campuses in China. There were a few more that showed up after this photo was taken, and a female friend of his that is from Nigeria too. Brent loved the LOUD attention we gave him as he came on and off the field, and the weather was really perfect for the game...although it was a bit muggy from the rain all day. MSU tied the game (after overtime too!) but it was the sharing of experiences and cultures that held my attention.
The drive home was foggy last night, something we don't see TOO much around here, but it occurs none the less.
This afternoon, after listening to TWO sermons on line, Mark and I went to the neighboring town to our north to shop at their Walmart...he's been looking for new work boots. We found them there, then went to a favorite Chinese restaurant and each got an order of crab rangoon and shared an order of chicken fried rice "to go", and took a drive...we saw Jolly Mill, took a drive down to the "Smack Out" public use area, and drove down farm roads that we hadn't been on before (which is hard to imagine, considering we love to do that...and we've lived here 16 years!). It was an overcast but not rainy day, and we saw acres of sunflowers, miles of green rolling hills, and beautiful scenery. Sadly, I had taken the camera out of my purse, thinking that we were "just going to Walmart." I'll not make that mistake again!
I hope everyone else had a great weekend!!
Blessings!!

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Way We Were...


It's funny...just after I posted the photo and typed these words, Mark found the movie on tv...I recognized the song, but thought it came out around the time I graduated from H.S., but it was much earlier.

ANYWAYS... I've been feeling nostalgic this week. It's traditionally a bad time of year for me anyways...call it S.A.D...the need to hibernate...missing my mom (and entering the season that she suffered the most before her death)...or even my attempt to draw attention from my birthday...I just don't do well emotionally this time of year. *sigh*

As a kid, I remember almost always being ill in the fall. Even in So.California my body protested the change of the season. (How much farther south could I go to get more sunlight...and survive??)

So, it's been a week of RAIN, STORMS, WIND. I've been cold in the house, but the a/c is still set at the same temp it's been at all summer long. The pool water is too cool to get into, and I know we'll have to close it up soon. The shadows get long too soon in the afternoon, and it's dark out when Mark's alarm goes off....way too early since my circadian rhythm is WAY out of whack. (Gosh, I love that phrase..."cirdadian rhythm"!).

So what's a mom to do? An empty nesting mom? With no kids around??

Well, I cleaned today...not the WHOLE house, but a good deal of it. I plan on shampooing the carpets when it gets a little drier...no need to add to the dampness of the basement. I went shopping and even bought stuff to make cinnamon rolls!! I am so ready to fire up that oven!! And tonight, as Mark and I were watching tv, I brought up the "D" word...."dog". I'm not convinced yet that we really "need" one, and I hate the thought of having to deal with boarding, vet visits, and Lord help us, another dying puppy...(we lost one last winter to a mystery illness/allergic reaction?). But it's just THAT quiet in the house. I'm just that lonely during the day.

It's just a thought...and one I'm not likely to act on...but perhaps there is room in there again for one...just a small room...just starting to get that space ready, but not willing to fill it up yet.

Too much traveling in my future right now...to see Melissa and Ryan bring their baby into the world...to hopefully get to see Jessica and Joshua sometime in the next few year(s). I think I could handle being alone a bit longer...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

If I wrote a book...

I THINK I will write a book someday...now getting it published would be another matter all together...but writing it would be possible...perhaps.

I used to often wonder if other writers are constantly writing things in their head when they can't sleep. I can't tell you how many books I've written in the wee hours of the morning, thoughts (all wonderful, of course!) running through my mind; creative and witty first lines to lead to great works of non-fiction.

Perhaps I'll be one of those undiscovered authors; only to be published long after my demise...someone will search the blog world over to find my pages left unmanned, unpenned, in cyberspace.

Perhaps I'll just go on dreaming of writing a book...or rather...writing my book in my lack of dreams....

sleepless nights...

I'm up again, not able to sleep. Actually, that's not completely true NOW...I went to bed early, and couldn't get to sleep. I finally got up around 10:30, and sat here playing scrabble, catching up on email, looking at photos and reading articles on the emergent/emerging church. NOW my eyes are finally getting tired...and my fingers too (although I'm hoping I am catching all the typing errors!).

My daughter started school today, and it reminded me of my childhood...how there was always something different about the FIRST day of school...there was a different smell in the air, a different feeling....like the dew was heavy on the grass or something. I'm hoping it went well for her...

There is an owl outside in the tree up front...it "whoooo whooo's" as if it's calling for someone to answer. Thankfully, Zoe (our outside dog) must be used to it, as she is not answering. : } I am grateful.

Well, the errors are winning....I am able to sleep (and need to).

Sweetie pie dreams....

Monday, September 3, 2007

Empty Housing...again...

Every now and again I hate the fact that we live in a larger house...don't get me wrong, it's not HUGE...but we had all 5 of us (Mark, the kids and I) with Mark's sister Sandra, living in a really small house (800 sq. ft?) with just one bathroom....and the last house we were in wasn't that much larger...and then we started sending the girls off to college...and now we live in the largest of the homes and only have Mark and I at home. *sigh*

So when we have had our kids home for short stays, it's been great...there's two main master suite areas, so there's lots of privacy. Recently Melissa was with us for a bit, and then her hubby Ryan for their vacation. Today they went over to his folks house for the rest of their vacation time here...and again, the house is empty. Quiet.

I can go downstairs (my "living area" is upstairs on one side of the house), and the house is quiet. No one watching tv. No lights on. No meals to plan. No events on my calendar.

It would be easy for me to stress about this...I like having people in the house, cooking for them, serving them and still letting them make the space their's to live in as they wish. For now though, it's transition time. Things have been happening so quickly the last several months that I feel like we've not even caught up to where we are supposed to be...perpetual motion. Constantly on the move.

So it's the end of summer...the pool needs to be closed soon...not that it's cold out, but as the daylight decreases the water cools off...and soon it will be too cool to go into. In mid-Oct. I'll be going to NY to see Melissa and Ryan (and greet that baby that will come!!), so it would be good to get the pool covered and the area winterized before I leave (although I'm sure Mark would and could do it on his own).

My back's been wretched this week...riding in a car really sets it off...and I'm not sure if it's a pinched nerve, being out of alignment or a disc issue...degeneration or whatever. All I know is that the exercises and stretches from the chiropractor help...and ibuprofen does too...and I just want to be able to go and do what I want - when I want - and that is not happening yet. sigh

So this week I'll sit, and sew on the baby's quilt, and enjoy the last of the summer's sunshine glistening on the water. I'll maybe even get out on the treadmill and walk...something that it's finally getting cool enough to do (at least in the morning). I may try to shampoo the carpets downstairs (something overdue on the "to do list"). I'll pray through this empty house, pray for the kids that have lived here, my own and those that have visited. I'll remember the pool parties of days gone by. I'll pray for this soon to be here baby, that it's entrance into the world will be as hoped for...no surprises...and for Melissa an easy delivery...and that it won't be too long before we're all together again....either in NY or here.

I know, from experience, that soon enough the snow will come down, the icicles will hang from the eaves, the kitchen will be warm with fresh cinnamon rolls from the oven, and there will be *new* friends sitting at the kitchen counter, playing games at the table, rooting for favorite sports teams as they watch games on tv.

But for now...it's just quiet...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Getting Started

Well, won't this be fun!
I feel like I'm on the starting line for a new season in life....the GET TO BE A GRANDMA phase! So much of life at home is in transition...well, it feels that way, although nothing is really changing here. I'm still at home. Still spend my days playing on the computer with digital photos and digi-scrapbooking now...writing when inspired...keeping up with friends and family all over the world.
Mark still works his tail off...and I love being able to be home with him...having lunch ready for him when he hits the door...even if I'm still in my pj's sitting at the computer...LOL. : }
So, if so much is the same, why am I feeling so much change going on??
Well, seasons...leaving another summer behind is always hard...no more pool time, no more swim time...sigh...BUT, fall is around the corner, and I'm hoping that Mark and I can start taking walks back out at Roaring River in the afternoons. And with the cool air of winter, I'll fire up the oven and start doing more baking...that's always great!!
Of course, the sad part of this time of year is missing my mom...the anniversary of her death, me turning another year older, thinking back...it's a Memorial Day of sorts. With the grandbaby arriving this fall, perhaps it will be the last one clouded in sadness, and forever more it will be a time of GREAT JOY!!
I can have hope!!
Blessings...