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Empty nesting


Most of the time I am pretty content in my life, I can spend my time any way I want to usually…with in reason. I’m a grownup ya know! Since our four children grew up, that’s the way it’s been and it is the gift the Lord gives you for a “job well done!”…or some kind of yadda yadda!

The only catch is (for which I did not see coming!)…the dreaded grand kid… they don’t tell you what this one little kid can do to you. It’s a scam I tell ya! You assume you are all finished.. the fretting, the worry, the knowing that at any given second there could be a huge explosion or landslide or any equally torrential act of God that could take your precious children to heaven sooner than you want.. or at least cause a trip to the emergency room! No one warns you about the next level.. the grandchild…the even more gut wrenching fears that are so absurd they don’t even make movies about it. How do we survive it?

I have been so blessed to have my beautiful granddaughter right next to me.. for seven wonderful years…..the hugs and kisses and jam hands have been a way of life .. everyday. The glue.. the sparkles..the stickers all over every thing you own; a never ending amount of sippy cups and drink boxes and goldfish cracker smashed in all the nooks and crannies of the couch as well as too much candy and the inevitable puke session to follow. And that’s only the good stuff! My sweet girl was always sitting too close to me, always screaming “MAMAW” when I came home and running so fast to me she nearly knocked me down. I would Buy her so much stuff that one child could never play with it all, spoiling her so bad her mother had her hands full. I’m sorry( not sorry)

But now she is gone…. Far away in a far off land. She moved .. they moved…for some reason she wanted to go with her Mom.. I mean she had me, her Mamaw and even better her Papa! But she wanted to move away .. I mean you spoil a kid rotten and they turn on you.. what nerve. She is perfectly happy too! What gives.. hot beautiful weather, the beach a swimming pool, Target and Chick-fil-A only down the street! So what.. I mean if you like that kind of stuff? I do wish a Chick-fil-A would pop up here in the ‘Burg!

Of course I’m happy for her and her Mom( don’t get me started on her Mom) there’s not enough words to express my missing her.. I’m not crying, you’re crying! I’ll move on. They are on an adventure of a lifetime, they are happy and safe; they are good. Even more than that I know that my Lord is with them, taking care of them better than I can. I had to come to the place of understanding and reminded myself that God loves them even more than I do. He has brought them this far, He has kept us all from the tricks of the devil. He has assured me that my babies and also my grandchildren will be of His highest priority.

So this empty nest I am in is even more empty, more than it’s ever been. (By the way, I ain’t hating it!)(did I say that out loud?) It’s ok, thankfully we have “face time” for which my granddaughter who I know adores me sits and plays a game ignoring me as she face times me.. um you called me missy! Oh well, I see her beautiful smile and her gorgeous hair that I love to touch and kiss her head. I know she loves me as much as I love her, she’s a tough little girl and I know the next time I see her in person she will probably be bored with me pretty quickly. These days 7 is more like 12 yrs old and I’ll be okay because I know I had those first 7 years( I had to share her with everyone else but I made sure I was at the top of her pyramid…. Most days!

I thank the Lord for my nest, my preacher bird, for my baby birds and for my sweet little chickadee. She is in good hands, with her sweet Mom, taking steps in faith for a wonderful life. They got this and even more Gods got them. I still miss the hound out of them!

A change


This is a torrid tale of a hot pink bathroom that was larger than life and a room with a view. there was a change coming and it was the greatest pleasure to watch it unfold. Home repair/redo/rehab is not the cool cable show that I watch..or is it! After the finished product, like childbirth, the memory tends to waiver and all you know is the satisfaction of it being done. I am now a few weeks out, past labor.. past the aches and pains for which were all worth it with the only bad memory I have is the actual moving day. This is a memory I choose to forget, it all didn’t make the trip, I dropped the ball on a few important items that I think I donated. Shhhh, let’s not talk about it anymore!

Fiddle-de-dee as Scarlet O’Hara said..enough of that, now some before and after! I do have pictures for which I can’t figure out how to add, still working on it. This house is like living in a super cool vacation home. It is gorgeous.. it is old, but still lovely.

Hot pink and black
But look how pretty now!
This!
To this!
Kitchen divider poles….
No poles and a walnut butcher block counter!
My lovely view!
My beautiful screened porch
My beautiful granddaughter spying on the squirrels
New walls with shiplap.. yeah I’m cool too!
New office for the preacherman
I could not love a room more..even still cluttered!
Such a pretty view
Cute pendent lights

Ok so not finished yet but what is, I’m loving. So just a tidbit of my story…one day Better Homes and Gardens will be knocking to do a full layout I bet! Until then I’ll just lounge in the home where my heart is….me and my preacherman!

Home

I am thankful to my husband who saw my vision, to my oldest son( handyman) who put his blood, sweat and tears into our new home, and to the rest of my family who dreamed with me. A girl can’t live without her sister(s) and daughters and sons who help so much. Most of all, my Jesus who provides all I could ever ask for or need.

A Life Well Lived


To say that someone got their money’s worth is an understatement when it comes to my mother-in-law. There has never been a woman more motivated or curious in life as her. The whole concept of “let’s chill!” was never in her wheelhouse. She “got her money’s worth” out of the life she lived, and at age ninety-two, she remained vigilant until the end.

We were fortunate to have the last four months with her in our home (not without a battle mind you , it only took us nine years to convince her to come). She knew when she was ready, she would come. And near the end of December 2020, she was finally willing to move in with us. We were blessed to be able to minister to her with love and compassion, as she taught us about life and death, which is still a great mystery to me (the death part, I mean). As I sat there watching her only son cry and pray, sing and worship, even during his loss, and her only granddaughter take such sweet care of her, I ponder this great mystery. It’s just a faint breath between the two – life and death, earth and heaven – but it gives me hope to know we will meet again.

We spoke words of comfort, and thankfulness, appreciative of all the lessons she taught us. I’m reminded of those last moments I was with my own Mom, nothing more precious. Watching my husband’s heart full of sadness is harder. He was a fine son, and he did his best to honor her, which he did. I feel confident when I’m at that point he will love me with as much warmth and kindness as he did his Mom.

I am honored to love a man with so much sweetness in his heart. He treasured his parents so much, and he was the best son. He gave honor to his parents, and to the Lord, for them adopting him. Now for a season, like me, he is parentless. But he is not alone; we have each other and we have Jesus. I’m good with that.

His Mom was a world traveler (seriously, she was), from Paris to Kenya, and all parts inbetween. She was an amazing quilter, embroider, and crafter. She was a good cook. She taught me the whole Thanksgiving meal, which was the first meal I had eaten with her. I was impressed! The best Angel biscuits, Swiss steak, okra and coconut cake. All my favorites! And most of all, she had the gift of hospitality. One of the fruit of the Spirit, by the way, that has been lost in the shuffle these days. She taught me that, too, but way better than me. Never a person who entered the doors of her church that did not get an invitation to her home…that day even… what?! Yes, she had the immeasurable gift to welcome strangers, and maybe even angels unaware? She is known for her commitment for people to be wanted and cared for. Her heart was for world missions, and she worked hard to support missionaries near and far. She had them to her home for meals or to stay over for the night. All guest preachers who passed through, as well as the random people she met along the way, sat around her table. Endurance was her middle name. This, all while raising two children and working as an educator to grammar school-age-kids for forty-two years! (what?) Yes, she was a go getter. She told me that she nearly died as a baby, and only after they removed her tonsils did she even start to gain normal weight. Yet she forged on and never stopped. She knew life was but just a vapor and she wanted to live the best she could.

I write this in honor of her, thanking her for the impact she had on my life. She was one of the first to plant the seed of Jesus in my mind and eventually to my heart. She was a good mother-in-law to me. And she gave a good man to love me. I pray that her influence lives on through her grandchildren and great grandchildren. If you knew her, you can appreciate the remarkably strong, vibrant woman she was – even when it wasn’t cool for us girls to be so independent. She ran that pop stand and told you your job too. She was invincible! But she always honored her husband and her Lord. She was reverent to what deserved to have reverence. Her joy was in people. She was filled with that joy until the end.

Now she is home, with her beloved Jesus, husband and the rest of her people. I’m sure she will have something to add to that big supper we all will have someday. She will at least help get it organized! God Bless her heart.

Hands extended


My Mom looks at her hands constantly….she touches them, rubs and worries over them, she will even comment that her hands look so bad. I beg to differ with her…I consider them the strong symbols for a life lived, proof of her endurance.

wpid-photo-2.jpgYet she, seems surprised by the look of them….I know why, it is a daily reminder of the days lived, her age can’t  be hidden from her hands. All the beauty products in the world can’t conceal the well worn years, lipstick and blush can paint in our youth but, our hands reveal our true self.

Now that she has been overcome by the perils of Alzheimer’s, her life has shifted, she no longer is …”I am woman, hear me roar!”, a pseudo strength that propelled her to raise kids and work after divorce when not everyone was so understanding of her independence…she is although, still somewhat the master of her domain even within the realm of her small world now, it is baffling and yet touching to see these hardworking hands lend comfort to her new friends.

She extends kind words and a soft touch, holding the hands of those precious souls who have her same disease, maybe a little farther gone but, still in need of a friend. I witness hands that once cooked great food and that held my hands across my life, now helpful in the lives of others. She is showing kindness and love and actually ministering there in this home where she lives. I asked her once about her relationship with God, she quickly set me straight….”……..how do you think I ever got through my life without trusting in God!!!!!!!!” Special emphasis on the exclamation marks….she set me in my place! I will forever have hope that was her testimony and now her hands are His hands extended there in her world.

Although she frets the aged-ness revealed in her hands, I enjoy the touch of her gentle hands, the mother’s love that I long for, for which i felt I didn’t always get as much as I wanted, I am blessed to receive now. I find myself noticing my hands more, a few age spots….dang Sun worship.…now I know why Southern Belles wore those cute white gloves….should have thought that one out…oops. I am learning how important it is to connect with people, be present at the moment, especially now when the few moments I get to sit with her are running low.

Life is a gift…..our parents are gifts…..our children and grandchildren are our joy…..Life goes full circle. (I feel like I am about to break out singing The Lion King …….and no one wants that to happen!!!!)
But, I will say one line from an old song…..”put your hand in the hand of man that stilled the water…” and in the hand of someone who needs it. Thanks Mom for holding mine….still.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Put_Your_Hand_in_the_Hand

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Home, Home, Home


This blogger recently started to follow my blog, thank you and I found this beautiful poem for which if I were to die, this poem would be a special thought to have for those listening. Just beautiful!

iiThinks

19174-Angel-On-Earth

I was born in this world

But a part of me is still in the sky

Half earth, half spirit

Half seeking, half knowing

I do not belong here

But I’ll smile for as long as I stay

The full moon in all its beauty

Shining light upon your darkest days

But don’t cry for me when I’m gone

I am back where I belong

With my Beloved – home, home, home.

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Seven days in…..


SEVEN DAYS IN………please kind sir…a morsel of chocolate? Why all of the sudden I crave sweets….I am dealing with the lack of bread, slowly but sure this tortoise is winning that race. Now this dreaded craving….Maybe a grape jelly sandwich?? Huh, ?huh?……why does it have to be dark and chilly and rainy and ten thirty at night, not exactly good conditions for a junk food run. Not that I haven’t made the run in worse conditions but, I must forge ahead…and be strong.

 

I can thank my level headed husband for cutting a very tart Apple, it was delightful but being an Apple…it has already metabolized and I am left yearning. Seven days in and I now don’t like cheese anymore, who knew that was ever possible…sad. The turkey roll ups leave me wanting, sad. This is going to take some creativity.

 

It seems that when one removes all the crackers and bread and pasta and rice and little sneaks of sweets(okay maybe “big” not so sneaky sweets), one is left with healthier vegetables and meat/chicken

 

McKee Foods - Little Debbie logo
McKee Foods – Little Debbie logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

choices which makes one ..well….grossed out…..sad. I see this is gonna be an uphill climb…if I had a backpack with some Little Debbie cakes it might be doable!

 

Seven days in…..growling stomach, probably should not have skipped breakfast this morning…that was dumb and I will not make that mistake again. Time to go to bed and sleep fast so I can wake up to breakfast…… I wish the cook would forget and make pancakes!…I wish we had a cook….I wish I had a mounds bar!!!

 

Oh Lord help!

 

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Midnight


I am not sure why BABIES pick the most awkward time to be born….. Probably to prepare us for life with a baby. Of course my first experience was just this way…at the stroke of midnight just after I had lay down to rest my swollen feet(whole body!) HERE COMES THE BOOM!

After dragging his feet a solid month, yep a month late, he….the blessed boy child decides to show up. Not that I am complaining mind you, I began to think he would just stay there until first grade! Being my first one it took some time, hurry up and wait we did, hospital nurse replied……..“just rest a bit and come in around five…a.m.!!! Seriously, wait five hours.…I might explode, I could burst…..I mean I already had the worst thing ever..ya know the water breaking trauma…..nothing prepares one for this!

Wait we did, starring at each other, my husband of almost two years and I ..truth be known probably thinking…….what have we gotten ourselves into? Too excited to really think about it, we jumped in the car, his awesome Trans Am( do they make those anymore?) until you have to cram a carseat in it!!!!……Which we soon sold for, I am sad to say…a older Buick. Growing up has its downside!…….On this day we were off to get a baby, one way or the other.

By 9:00 am the doctor exploded into my room exclaiming we had to “get this baby out!”... geez, he scared us to death, we were both snoozing, I had NO PAIN, NO CONTRACTIONS, NO FUTURE HOPES OF DELIVERY….this was easy, couldn’t figure why I heard so much fuss about it! Little did I know we were in for some drama, gonna have a C-section..oops, that was not planned on.

By 1:15 pm I hear my baby screaming, and I felt like t h e Scarecrow from the WIZARD OF OZ, in the scene where they are re-stuffing him with hay! Clanking and whooshing and people scurrying around and ..“what a big baby!” He didn’t look so bad, nearly grown! A month late does a boy good.

Five whole days in the hospital(this was before the days of new insurance regulations), feeling very special and pampered, periodically (they stayed in the nursery a lot back then) cuddling my newborn… heart of my heart, my very own opportunity to do it right, to love him and protect him and keep all things that could hurt him at bay. I would be different from my own parents.

Thirty years later, now I know, my parents did the best they knew how…and so did I. He grew up, my pride and joy, king of the hill, no one had a more beautiful son, just ask me I would have told you! Then I had the next three, all were equally perfect and adored and beautiful…..I did the best I knew how. GOD knows every parents heart is  to do the best we can by our kids, he helps us along the way.

I know HIS HAND is and has always been on all of them, this young son was the first one, he suffered all the trials and errors of first-time parents and has come out still strong and maybe stronger. I believe our kids are the best and worst of us and I find this to be true still. I can only hope that he will rise above his raising and be bolder and stronger than his daddy and me.

me and will Happy Birthday beautiful boy, man child, first always, never forget where you came from and who loves you.

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Maggie Monday: Skillet Rosemary Chicken


Gotta re-blog such a yummy recipe with such a sweet name!! HaHa!

 

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Rantings of an Amateur Chef

I have a number of skillets in my kitchen. I find that most of the time, though, I am pulling out my largest over and over. Maybe it is cooking for a family and I need the space, or maybe just habit. How about you? Here’s Maggie with a skillet of her own….

This recipe came through recently on the Food Network Magazine Recipe of the Day. For some reason, I am attracted to the word “skillet”. When a recipe includes the word “skillet”, I automatically assume the dish will be simple, rustic, and easy.

This one hit rustic, for sure. While some of the prep was not simple, I didn’t have too much trouble taking a few shortcuts to simplify enough to suit me. On any given weekend I can be cooking for 5-10 people, depending upon how many boy and girlfriends are visiting. Simple is crucial in my…

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DIY today–Christmas time is here


The Mantle

 

Rudolph Trees
Rudolph Trees

Christmastime is upon me…I have been slooowwwly decorating, a little here and a little there. My passion for it all has been a bit tempered this year. I

am thankful for my youngest son….his beautiful heart continues to encourage me to press on.

I catch a glimpse of the Nativity and remind myself what its all about…..I am comforted by the miracle of one man who changed my life forever. So I forge ahead, digging a bit deeper into the massive amount DSCN0559decorations…..many are

the nativity
the nativity

old from the years when my kids were young…..and I thought life was difficult to navigate then!

Then I come across my precious Rudolph beanies and the mini-trees which bring a big smile. One of my favorite Christmas memories from my childhood.

Then I dig out all my tea pots and cream and sugar sets. I have two Christmas ones as well as many others. I sort of collect them and in actuality, I would have more but I limit myself. I LOVE them but the minimalist side of me knows that I have no room and there is a lot of cleaning involved with the upkeep and I tend to hate to clean so goes the dilemma.

one of many different colors and styles
one of many different colors and styles

DSCN0564
As always a “real” tree!!!

Then there is the figuring out of the mantle; greenery or not?…..NO just clear and white and silvery and how bout some snowflakes and glittery ribbons….Ahhhhh YES! Candles, candles and more candles. Never can go wrong with candles. I love the monochromatic-ness of it all.

So there ya go….Christmas 2012 is all prettified…..my Christmas cards are done and mailed….table decorations are put out only to be moved when the food is served….my experiment with painting glass ornaments was a success! Now if only I had a half-dozen Poinsettia I would be finished. With one exception…..not one gift has been bought! …….yikes! I better get busy!

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I just want to be happy


How many times have I said …”I just want to be happy”…..in my head? Even though I know this is a futile thought…even silly, it is still there…floating around…like a albatross around my neck. My brain knows that being happy  is a relevant term, one that is a mind-set not a way of life. My spirit knows that it rains on the just and the unjust…(its in the Bible….for pete’s sake!)) as well as living proof all around me.

 

Who do I think I am to ask for happy? I can throw a rock and hit some other soul that would and has given their very lives for a moment with all their legs or hands or even someone they love back with them. The conviction runs rampant through my heart…I know I am behaving badly here. But today I am there….at one of those points of just sadness…..feeling all alone in the middle of a crowd.

 

What a loser….here comes the self-deprecation, I am good at that one…..too good. Wallowing

Iconic screen shot from the movie It's a Wonde...
Iconic screen shot from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

is one of my specialties also…along with tears and fear. The tiredness of it all is palatable…groaning inside me, my heart aches. Lord give me that sign….the George Bailey…..the good ole Hail Mary pass. The reminder that no matter how hard life gets….it is still better than the alternative…never being born at all.

 

With Christmas upon me, I am finding it hard to be happy. With the obvious loss

of family members and the absence of others, the attempt to be cheerful is a broken down cliché. But I do know that thankfully I will not always be happy….everyday of my life. Actually that would be frustrating and positively obnoxious to anyone around me. I would hate me!!

 

One thing I do know for sure is that JOY is the goal…along with PEACE and most of all HOPE. I do have HOPE…..and just like George Bailey from “It’s A Wonderful Life, I too am full of hope that I know will get me thru these rough patches in life. Although my heart remains heavy, my spirit can rest in the knowledge that….”with God all things are possible!”..Matthew 19:26 and just like the virgin Mary found out so many years ago, each of our lives are here for a purpose….for such a time as this, Esther 4:14.

 

The LOVE of God is everlasting and the happy follows and flows like a river…sometimes there are rocks and a wood chuck builds a dam or it is a hot year and it nearly dries up…these are the times and seasons for us all to endure and be happy in the wisdom of those who have come before us. Had they been as whinny as me, nothing would have ever gotten finished. So I say with all gratitude, thanks be to GOD for my life and I will attempt to live with more joy…even when I don’t wanna!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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