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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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A good day!


While driving back this afternoon to East Tennessee, to attend the wedding of a sweet young couple, I was honored to witness the beautiful fall trees. The color was only really pretty at the highest point, the plateau, between Cookeville/Crossville but for a few miles it was a real treat.

Crimson red, auburn, fire hot magenta’s, golden rod and butter yellows, all the brilliant hues that make fall my favorite season. I caused me to ponder (for which I do way too much!) about my life and that at my present age it feels as if I am in the fall of my life. Since this is my favorite season I am not so upset…..with the exception of the season to follow(I will not think of that now though!)

My drive was so nice…bright sunshine and clear blue skies, a great afternoon for driving. The trees were a great bonus to a day filled with happiness for this sweet couple. Their life is only beginning, many days ahead for them making friends and memories. My life has been so much richer for all the people I have met and who I have loved and been loved by over my life.

I was honored to be with some of my old friends on this “sunshiney”wedding day and I have to say it nourished my soul in a way they will never know. It seems that we live so many lives in our one lifetime. As I sat there taking in the joy of fellowship with my posse of friends, I was overcome with the knowledge that I have been so fortunate to have been a part of their lives also.

We talked about funny stories of past experiences and concurred that the funniest things happen in church….seriously if you don’t believe be I have some doozies! The (MY)preacher-mans grandfather always said…”give me my flowers before I die, they do me no good then!” He was the funniest person ever and was so right and I try to follow his pattern. He was a person who did this to those of us he loved. He would always remind me of the first time he met me and that he loved me from the start. Sweet man!

So today I sat with Ed and Jane Hardin, people who nearly raised me and my preacherman, in ministry…they were our most avid supporters, friends, but more like parents. Our lives were crisscrossed over and over, their love was not lacking to us and our children, we were their family, one of their own and they were ours. They made an impact on our lives and will always be Elders in our lives. I honor them and pray blessings on them and all their children and grand children. They also make the best New Years Day feast of anyone I know. I miss that gumbo and boiled shrimp and think of it often…maybe even more than my dear friends….ha ha sorry, I do love my seafood!

Then there is Mike and Denise Yannacone….these two have kept our kids for weeks on

A "Zeedonk", a zebra/donkey hybrid
A “Zeedonk”, a zebra/donkey hybrid (Photo credit: Wikipedia

end)and taken our mutts(dogs not kids!) after I kicked them to the curb (avid animal lovers…suckers in my book! ha)They are our mountain vacation buddies…any one ever seen a Zonkey? They throw great farm parties…skeet shooting and cookouts. They have been friends of great measure, always loving us and standing in the gap, prayer warriors and just a whole bunch of fun. She always remembers my birthday…every year (I am very impressed with that) (because I am awful at that) and someone who I know loves me like a sister. They are good people and I am honored to know them.

The wedding was for the daughter of our most dear ones….not playing favorites, but that was already mapped out before the earth was formed or …at least before I married the preacher man. Wendell has been the preachers life long best friend. They grew up side by side in that tiny town, he was Johnny Paul to my husband’s Opie…. so to speak! It is a toss-up which one of them had the more mischievous mind and probably equal by comparison. Wendell had the good sense and fortune to marry a beautiful woman after being left with four kids in tow. Cheryl was the bright spot for a family who needed loving.

She has been dear to me since I met her. She came by good referral….Wendell’s preciousMom picked her out for him and on a fluke it worked out. I say this because he ain’t that good…..but she is!(ha ha)She was the best step mom any kid could ever have and the best friend I could ever have. She has been a better friend to me than I have ever been to her.

She has hauled my sick gall bladder to the hospital, fought to have me thoroughly checkedout….thankfully because they were going to send me home, cleaned up probably every one of my kids puke…on her floors and furniture to make it worse, helped me with every crazy adventure I have ever gone on, prayed with me, walked with me, held my hand and held me up during the best and worst of times. She is my sister as much as my blood sisters, she even cleaned out stinky rotted fish from my freezer when I had moved away, which I don’t think my blood sister would have done and I know I wouldn’t have done. I am not as good a friend as her nor person.

She is my family! And in many ways all the people I have in my life are too. If I am allowed to be your friend I will be; I don’t allow miles to stop that. My friends have impacted me in ways they never could know and I have learned so much from them all. There are more in my heart near and far, all of which I value and cherish.

Today was a good day for me, I wanted one thing. To be there in some small way for my friend, like she has always been there for me. I didn’t really help her much, did little this and that’s but I showed up and was blessed with a bounty of love and adoration from my peep’s from the past thirty years. My friend Debbie who was a lifeline for me in a time of transition, she was an anchor and the best haircut ever…but more than that she loved me and never judged me as well as defended her friends on every front. I value her and love her. Then, our whole gang who took us in when we were lonesome and in need of a home, a church family and Pastor who too, loved us and let God be God.

That is how it is with people who have a love for God that is real and alive. People who give their hearts and hugs and time and gifts to build up and not tear down. There are too many to name; our lives are so inter-twinned over the years, people have come for a season, some have stood the test of time. All have been cherished and my life has been more rich for knowing them all.

I think I do like the “fall” of my life, I feel more settled and sure of myself. I have been there and back and survived. A bit more wear and tear than I wanted, I meant to take better care but ya know I have had a blast! At least most of the time, the good always out weighs the bad. My fifty-three years …I mean forty-three years …..oops! I forgot I am in the going backward stage! Actually, I don’t fret my age it’s more my over-all breaking down, limb by limb. Now that’s a bummer! Should have been more of an “outdoor Person!”(thanks for that observation Ellis kids…grrr!)

SO…..thank you Lord for my long life of ups and downs and please allow fall to hang around a little longer!

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Lil’ Red Caboose!


On the day the doctor told me I was …once again.…with child, I was excited, for a little while…in public, then when we got into our car on the way home…..I cried! My baby daddy of now FOUR(ugh!) just laughed and said….“this is what you do best…be a Mommy!” At the time it was comforting and made me smile(if I were in my right mind I would have been offended…I am more than a mommy…really?!!!but my women’s lib badge was in the wash right then…I needed the encouragement!) and know that I could do this all over again….after a nine year gap….AGAIN!

After the sweet feeling wore off and reality set in I started down the road of pregnancy…AGAIN! In all honesty, before the Lord I must admit….I was not very surprised. Truth be known, I had been hit or miss with my pill taking and had been sick and taken a run of antibiotics and then on top of that….I was sorta “itchin'” to have another one. Let’s just say a pre mid-life crisis crisis!

I just didn’t feel finished…notice I use the word “I” not WE! Poor husband didn’t know what I had going on in my brain and heart. But the Lord did…..during this time, we had five or so women in our church that had been told they could not have a baby….but the Lord knew the desire of their hearts and they all got pregnant…..and I think it was in those free flowing waters that got all stirred up that I tip toed in and here comes our little caboose!

Honestly though it was great! The other kids were 12, 10 and 9, good ages to have fun with a baby brother and after the initial shock and awe was gone we all were so happy. This caboose as we call him was to be the LAST…..I promised! And to back it up…I tied everything up then with a two year later removal of all ovens and utensils…kitchen was closed. End of trail for the baby train, our lil’ red caboose was here and we were done.

Obviously, this kid was the best one yet….never needed for anything, didnt need his legs because we carried him everywhere…didn’t need his hand because we fed him…all his daily wants and needs were took care of by his band of brothers and one patient sister who played babies like a pro. He did eventually learn to do for himself, they all grew up but he was and still is the baby.

Maybe because he was raised with older siblings, but he has always been easy going and compilable. I think he is like me on that one (joke) I too am the baby in my family and I never got one spanking, like caboose…..we both are pretty perfect!! Just saying! He has been a joy to watch grow up.

He is now in the teenage years, sixteen by a few weeks now, and he made a commitment to work at a video game store in our town, five years ago when we moved here. Moving was hard on our little caboose, leaving his home of ten years, and when we came here, the guys at the local GAMESTOP became his buddies. The manager, who is a younger guy with two small kids, is a great guy and has always been a friend to him. Caboose would go there and hang out while I was shopping at Target every chance he got. They allowed him too because beyond anything else he is so funny and they loved to have him around. He would also tell him that when he was old enough he would hire him.

This was enough to keep my little man going, patiently waiting until he could apply and this week he did apply and today had an interview and was hired!!! Three cheers for our newly fiscally sound son. WooHoo!!! Yes….. I do have ulterior motives….one of these kids has gotta make it big…I am getting older by the second and who the heck’s gonna take care of me?

HIRED!!!!

SO this little tribute to my last kid in a line of great kids is one of great pride and I give praise to a God who always take care of us, gives us what we need as well as our wants and proved this on this day even the desires of our hearts. Work hard young man, I need a lot of taking care of! Only joking, Son……….(she says only to keep up appearances….!)

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8,409,600 minutes


If one was a mathematician…one could figure out the number 8,409,600 minutes. Since I am NO mathematician (obviously) I had to GOOGLE the answer. In actuality I GOOGLED how many minutes are in sixteen years…because this is how many minutes of my life have been blessed because of the birth of my youngest child, a son and the only one I like on most days! Just kidding…well mostly…..maybe not kidding….hmmmmm!

The time has come to honor a great young man, one that has kept my life alive and sane (well, nearly!) during the past sixteen years. On September 21, 1996, right before UT played Florida in Knoxville for which they beat US…… 35-29 at University of Tennessee hospital (where all the kids were born…..the sign that we are all VOL) this precious LAST CHILD was born to the cheers of all his family.

NO child was more loved by so many. His older two brothers(one of which had to spend his birthday–yes….. two kids born on same day 9 yrs. apart!- at the hospital) and one sister were all there to love him and be the first to hold him. This was a day of great joy and love and this little caboose (I finally figured out the cause of all these babies!) was the highlight of all our lives.

Since then, his life has been one of high achievements as well as laughter and love. He has been the glue that has held us all together many times and he has brought me joy that could never be compared. He was the reason my feet hit the floor everyday and the reason I kept on keeping on. He has been the baby of promise and his love and affection I will always be thankful for. With GOD its all in the timing and I was blessed when this little kid hit the world.

Happy SWEET SIXTEEN NATHANAEL, I am honored to be your Mom and I pray your life be as exciting from this day more than you could ever dream. Dream big sweet one, you deserve the best! This has been an awesome 8,409,600 minutes for me and I hope the rest of the minutes/years of your life are just as awesome. God loves you even more than me!

By the way………….

Happy Birthday today to my Son Sam,

25 years old and

13,149,000 minutes…wow!

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