Slipping…

A few years ago…but just a blink in my eyes…our oldest daughter was preparing to be married. I visited her in Colorado, where she had been living for a few months. We went to see Mama Mia! at the theater…and I loved the movie. I haven’t seen the new release, but I’m very excited to. ABBA was a favorite singing group of mine, back in the day. I loved their songs, and I thought the movie did a great job of capturing ABBA’s songs. Not to mention the actors singing the songs, and doing a pretty good job, I thought.

I’ve shared a song from that movie. I’ve always loved it…one of my favorites. But watching that movie with our oldest daughter, and hearing that song was difficult. Thankfully the theater was dark! I don’t cry often, and I’ve never been one to want to share my tears. But sometimes they just have to fall.

With every daughter that has married over the years, and every child that has left for college, this song has come to mind. My life was spent with my children, every day, all day for so many years. And it’s hard to let go!

I really do wish them the best. They are starting to scatter. Families of their own, houses being bought, far from ours, and grandchildren growing up so fast with me working full-time. I want to push the pause button, and savor the times I was drowning, (I thought) , it days of cooking and laundry. Constant children chatter, and battles among siblings ruled my days, and I wished them to hurry… at the time. Now I would like to replay them, late at night, in the dark, when no one can see my tears of missing them all so much.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi7OXmTmgGg

You’re all Slipping Through My Fingers…but always in my heart. Much love to my five babies!

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Oldest daughter’s wedding.
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This Too Shall Pass

Trials and tribulations seem to clump together. Rather like a large boulder in the middle of a merrily chirping stream. The water still rushes past, swirling around that stone for a few moments before gurgling merrily along. This is the same with life. Our lives are that water, and the tests the boulder. Life will continue on at some point. We may be a little bruised and battered, but we go on.

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Please pray for our grandchildren if the thought passes through your mind. They have all been struggling with colds, although I don’t think any have had the flu. This past week, two of the sisters spent the night at the hospital due to RSV. They came home today. Now the youngest, just a little over a week old is at the hospital, and she will be there overnight for observation.

It is scary watching your child struggling with sickness. Even more so when it involves a hospital visit, or surgery. I have been there more times than I want to think about. It makes you want to snatch them away, to protect them, and take on all that they have to endure. After all, you are stronger, able to understand all that is happening. Their little bodies and minds aren’t able to take it all in. I hurt for those families that have had children diagnosed with cancer, and diseases that their little bodies have had to fight off. It takes a parent to the limits of where no parent ever wants to go.

I don’t fully understand why these kind of trials and tribulations are allowed in our lives. I really don’t want to face them. I want to be swept down that stream, gurgling merrily along as the blue sky smiles down at me.

That little stream rushes to the ocean, and is stronger in the end. So are we. And this too shall pass.

Jeremiah 29:11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Welcome to Life!

I feel as though I should begin this post with a “Hello”, and the lyrics from Adele’s song. As you already know, I haven’t been around much lately. Life is happening at a pace that I’m having a hard time adjusting to. But I will…eventually.

We now have seven grandchildren, as of 6:36 pm on the 22nd. Her name is Josie. I had the privilege of being there for her birth, just as I have for all but one of our grandchildren. Eden decided to be born quickly in the middle of the night, so I stayed with the older two children while her parents made a trip to the birth center. When I say privilege…it is! At one time, I seriously considered being a midwife, or at least working in labor and delivery at a hospital. I love being with women in labor. The process of labor and birth is absolutely amazing to me…and it never dulls. So, it is a privilege to be a part of that very intimate time in a couple’s life, no matter how many times that process occurs. Mother and little Josie are doing well, and big sister Ashlynn is taking well to her new responsibilities.

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I am now also working full-time as the Activity Director at our local rest home. I do love this job…even if it seems strange to call it that. But it is hectic, and it takes the stuffing out of me by the end of the day. I love being more active and walking for much of my day. The sitting at my desk all day was wreaking havoc on my back and hips, but I’m adjusting to the activity. Sitting is about all I can handle by the time I arrive home. I am hoping that with warmer, spring air and sunshine, my energy level is back. After all, I’ll have a yard to tackle!

Renovation projects…of course have come to a stand still. I’m happy I accomplished as much as I did before Christmas. I really do want our son to have a life of his own, but I hope he has a couple months after he finishes with school in South Dakota to help me get caught up. Then I think we should sell the house and move to an apartment! 😉 We shall see. The little house by some water is still extremely appealing. And of course my lap-top will travel where no desk-top can. A row-boat in a middle of a pond with frogs croaking and birds chirping is beckoning me.

So, I’m still here, and I check in every now and then. Thank you to all of you that keep stopping by and commenting. It is a real encouragement! Have a great week…spring flowers and painted toe-nails are just around the corner!

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Baby of Mine

Everyone will remember this song from the Disney movie, ‘Dumbo’. It’s always been my favorite part of that movie. It always amazed me that an animated mommy elephant could convey such emotion, and when I had babies of my own, I knew how she felt. This is for our two youngest grandchildren, one three months old, the other almost two days old. I know how much our second to youngest will appreciate this song! 😉

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKyO_f_jt-o

Welcome To the World!

Because I delivered five babies, I went through labor five times. My labors weren’t the ones where you went in and played cards for a while, skipped down the hospital corridor with your backside for all to see, had an epidural and then were told to push because you were numb from the middle down.

Now, to be fair, I’ve never had an epidural. These were stories told by other moms that had one. Because of my fear of anyone poking around my spine, I always declined. I would rather be completely sedated. But you understand that with any fear, it can be completely irrational. Facts don’t matter! Each woman is different, every person experiences pain in a different way. Every woman needs to do what she feels is best for her labor and delivery, and she  needs the support of those with her.

My labors were long, and I delivered big babies. With each one, the first cry and the first glimpse of that tiny face…made all those hours very well worth it. Around thirteen years later with each child, I rethought those moments and my conclusion was that I was delusional at the time. Extreme discomfort and pain can do that to you! But with each child, when active labor began, it was that feeling of despair. The memories of what that long contraction felt like…and I wanted to run!

So it was with our second oldest when she was in labor with our sixth grandchild last Wednesday. Believe me, I felt those contractions, I knew by the look on her face that she wanted to run. But labor is one of those items in this life that you have to see through until the end. And women all around the world for ages have done it over and over again. Women are strong, they are formidable, a force to be reckoned with. And yet, when a child is small, and sometimes big, they want their mother to ease the pain…to comfort.

Our sixth grandchild, the fifth girl, arrived last Wednesday, November 22nd at 3:43 pm. Her name is Eleanor Rose Elise…Ellie to us. She weighed 7 pounds and 6 ounces, 19 inches and then some, I think. The statistics dim for me after the first few days. Because of her parents request to not post pictures at this time, I will not. But she is a real cutie! Her big sister Ava thinks so as well.

Family is one of those Divine Institutions that God has given us in this life. Marriage and family is to be honored and cherished. It is a Blessing far beyond my comprehension. It is what makes this world, rather difficult to live in at times, just that much better. I am thankful for mine!

Welcome to this big world, Miss Ellie Rose! I look forward to watching you grow into the delightful woman God created you to be. And may your mother have the honor of watching your little ones arrive in this world one day. It is a Blessing to behold!

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This Is My Father’s World…

I love music…in almost any form. I have a tremendous appreciation for those that play musical instruments, and those that have been gifted with voices to sing. (There are those of us that sing anyway!) 😉

I have written before about the few years that our children and I had a family group of mostly blue grass and gospel. This was because of our children’s musical talents. I was just along for the fun ride. Our son learned guitar, our daughter played the mandolin and just about anything else you tossed at her for a few seconds. Our son could handle that aspect pretty well too. I watched them with amazement. Our second oldest wrote a couple songs that we used in our concerts. Well, we used one of them. The one that was happy and uplifting!

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When our son and daughter went away to Cornerstone Bible Institute in South Dakota, our little group was no more. Children grow up and want to have their own lives for some reason…and that makes me a bit sad. But, I have wonderful memories, and they still share their lives with us. I am very thankful for that!

If I am remembering correctly, I’ve shared a little about our son, and why it is even more special that he has the musical talents that he does. In his mid-to-late teens, he was diagnosed with cholesteatomas in both ears. Since he did not have chronic ear infections while growing up, the doctors said they were congenital. Since he had other difficulties at birth, this was not a surprise to us. Nathan had surgery on one ear just before he left for Cornerstone Bible Institute. Because of repeated surgeries on both ears…several on each ear, he missed his last semester of school. He is now at Cornerstone completing that year.

We were told the cholesteatomas were very bad, and each surgery came with lab work to  assure they were not cancerous. A couple times, the growth had come very close to crossing into the brain. We were told he could completely lose his hearing.

Nathan is now at Cornerstone, finishing what he began several years ago. He did not lose his hearing, but he does have implants behind each ear that help him hear. And he still plays the guitar and harmonizes beautifully. God has gifted him with these talents. He is also our electrician and carpenter when he is home…so he is greatly missed in many ways.

It was an honor for Nathan to be asked to do the video (that I will share the link to) with Luke E. Boy. https://www.facebook.com/LukeEBoyArt/

Luke is another very gifted young man that Nathan met through Cornerstone. Luke and his siblings have also attended the Bible Institute. He builds tiny houses, makes his own instruments, composes his own songs, does his own photography…and the list goes on and on. I do apologize to Luke if I missed anything! You can check out his Facebook page above. Please like it and check out his links. He has some interesting things on there.

Now here is the video of Nathan and Luke…two very talented young men. We hope to be hearing more from them in the music area! Traveling mercies to Luke as he travels across the United States once again, and shares all that he is doing with his beautiful photography, art and music. And to God be the Glory!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/NKhwc69UH9w

 

I Will Fight, if You Tie Me Down!

At one time, (unless you are under the age of thirteen and reading this,) we have all been a teenager, or have raised teenagers. Maybe I should rephrase that and say that we have lived in the same house with a teenager. Basically, by the time your sweet, adorable child enters the teen years, it’s a done deal. As a parent, you kind of wait it out until they enter their twenties, and hope and pray that they will turn back into a human.

Don’t get me wrong here. There are some great attributes about your child reaching the age of thirteen. Generally, they can take care of themselves. They should be able to shower, feed themselves, and clean up their messes. At least these actions are within their physical capabilities. As to whether or not they do them, that’s another post.

Think back to when you were a teenager. I know it may be a bit foggy for some. My years there are disappearing into the mist. Or, if you are privileged enough to have at least one or more residing in your home at this time, think about this question. Do they like restrictions put on them? Did you like it as a very young adult?

Now, concentrate on this question before you read the rest of this post.

Did those restrictions keep you on the straight and narrow? 

For some, the answer will be ‘yes’. Your parents, your teachers, the law, etc. had a set of rules that you were to follow and obey. And you did. Some did it with a happy heart, others rolled their eyes and groaned, and a few dragged their feet, doing only what they had to so as not to be in trouble.

Then, there were those that had the same rules and they followed none of them. They balked at the constraints, lied, manipulated, and basically did anything they could to rebel at the rules placed on them and their domain. We all knew a person or two like that…we may have been that person.

If I may use that last person as an example…if additional rules or laws were placed on them, did they obey better? Did they submit more? In my experience, not usually. And if they did, it was not a true repentance, (changing of the heart). It was an outward showing to get the person or people imposing the rules and laws off their backs.

In this life, people are human. We all have areas that we naturally gravitate to when we express our rebellion. Some outright break the law and commit terrible acts against others, while some steal a cookie and set the lid back on the jar as quietly as possible. Both are wrong. But establishing and implementing more rules and laws, does not make a person more law-abiding. It is what is in their heart.

A parent’s home is where a child learns right from wrong. This is the parent’s responsibility. A parent is to teach a child to respect others, and to listen and obey. Each family has a set of rules that they believe is best for their family. In most circumstances, if a child is loved, cared for and taught respect for others, that carries over into their school life, their social network, and they way they interact in the work environment. I also firmly believe that there are cases when this has been carried out successfully in a family, and that child has rebelled. They have made a decision to live their life separate from the rules, laws and obligations that they have been taught. Placing more rules an laws on that individual probably will not change them. It is a heart/soul flaw that the person is not willing to change.

The mass shootings and deaths over the past few weeks have been horrendous. We all gasp and wonder how an individual can be so cruel and evil. What kind of a home environment did they have? Were they abused as a child? The lists of ‘reasons why’ go on and on. We are human, and we want answers. And we want it to stop. As a parent, when your child is doing wrong, you scramble to correct it. As a world, we are wanting the same.

But establishing and implementing more rules and laws will not solve the problem.

Just as it did not for that rebellious teenager. The rebellious, lawless person will still find a way. They will fight if you tie them down.

 

God is Good!

At times I wonder if decisions people make ever go as planned. Even the most thought-out, all-scenarios-reviewed-plans seem to have a glitch or two. Is this one way we stay on our toes? Helping us to mature and examine all aspects of an important decision? Or is it road-blocks designed to hamper what we would like to do?

I don’t know if I will ever have the answer for that question. I can say that one should always expect to have a fly in the ointment, and be extremely thankful when there is not! Maybe this is looking at the glass half-full, but I prefer to call it being prepared.

When we pack to go away for a few days, I always bring my raincoat, even if the weather says it won’t rain. I’ve been extremely thankful for this many times now. It seems as though the weather is just a toss-up. The more technology and tools we have to predict, the more it’s wrong. Again…a road-block, or is God reminding us that not everything is in our what we think capable hands?

Our son left yesterday for another year at a Bible Institute. When you have been living on your own, working two and three jobs, and having surgery after surgery for a few years, this is a huge decision to make. But he felt that since he had to leave his last semester due to the surgeries he needed, he wanted to finish what he had started. I don’t know if that was the best decision, but he is an adult, and I can’t tell him ‘no’ any longer. This picture is of our son and son-in-law. They became good friends while they were both at the Bible Institute in the same class. Our son is 6’2″ and our son-in-law is 6’4″…just to give you a bit of perspective!

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Going away to a Bible Institute would probably be considered a good thing to do for a Christian man wanting to serve in a ministry somehow. He is a gifted teacher in my humble opinion, and he is very talented musically. That in itself is beyond belief. The surgeries he has had have been for his ears, and at one time we thought he would be deaf. He can still play guitar and sing. God is good, merciful and gracious. He uses people as a testimony to this, over and over. Our son is not unique in this.

A question asked over the last couple of months is if he should make this decision. We tried as parents to give him the good and the bad of it, and I know he was praying, knowing all the same scenarios. He decided to go…and the road blocks just kept coming. I don’t know if it was a nudge saying he shouldn’t go, or a slap from the side that does not want God’s good to prevail. I struggle with that in my own life, and I think most Christians do. That’s why we are advised to seek wisdom.

Our son left, after two days of car trouble, and more money spent to repair it. He began his twelve hour drive on two hours of sleep. But he did arrive at his destination. He is already greatly missed…but we all have many of his projects to finish up to remind us of him! I pray this year goes well, I pray the answers he needed are made known to him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eowI9QWsT-g&t=13s

God is good! Have a great weekend! (The lake at sunset was taken by our son.) Here is a video I shared on here before. Our granddaughter was loving the concert! This makes me smile…and I need to smile right now!

Kitten Saga Continued

God designed us with emotions. He gave us the ability to feel, to love, and cry. We can experience anger, sadness, joy, elation, and depression in our lifetimes. Loving someone, and having that love returned, is one of the greatest blessings here in this life. I am thankful that He created us this way, even though at times, it really hurts.

I also believe that animals have the ability to care, to love, and demonstrate their feelings. Some more than others. I am reminded of a video that was going around Facebook a couple weeks ago. It showed a little girl, sitting on her living room sofa watching TV, with her pet yellow python sprawled across the sofa, over her lap, and across the back of the sofa. It was watching TV with her. When she yawned, it yawned. Now, I detest snakes. I really wonder why God created them. That is one of the many questions I’m going to have one day, if I even care to ask them by that point! But maybe in a snake kind of way, it cared for that little girl…as long as it was well-fed!

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Any farmer knows how a mama cow will bawl for her baby when they are separated. You have watched animals in the wild care for their young, many times better, more protective than some of the news stories we have seen lately of parents with their children. Animals have the ability to care, and show feelings. God designed them that way.

As you all know from reading my post, Sometimes It Hurts, we lost two kittens and our older cat, Cassie in the course of a few days. The kittens were ones my husband had found, so we bottle-fed them and cared for them for three weeks. They were a brother and sister of the same litter. We grew to love them over those weeks, and they cared about us. Our daughter sang to them each night before putting them to bed. They loved the song, Mockingbird Hill, which you can listen to right here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJwv7ZsY6PQ

The male cat, a yellow and white cutie, would sit there while she sang, swaying back and forth with his eyes closed. It was adorable to watch.

My father took both of the kittens to the Helping Hands animal shelter in Topeka. He did that for us because he was able to. He knew it needed to be done quickly. He grew up on a farm, and to be honest, they just didn’t have the time to get that concerned about cats and their babies. They caught mice, and occasionally had a treat of milk while the milking was going on. I’ve always thought it must be a real test for my father to live with my mother, who adores cats, and their two kitties now are treated as queens that run the entire house.

The decision was made to take the kittens to the shelter, because our older cat, Cassie was not happy about them being at our house. She would come in, eat quickly and leave. A couple of times she watched the kittens with disdain, forgetting that she had been a kitten herself at one time, seeking the love, companionship and warmth of an older cat. I think that over time they would have all adjusted, but I didn’t want to put Cassie through that. I felt she should have us to herself during her waning years. And then she was gone…

Such is life, the emotions of love, that piercing sadness when you experience the loss of something or someone dear to your heart. There is no Cassie to greet us when we pull into our driveway, running up to our doors, and stretching for kitty-scratches. It’s very lonely to come home. Each morning I look out our back door, hoping to see her sitting on the wicker chair, or lounging on the garage roof. Each night before bed, I open that same door, hoping she will run in as she always did. In time, the memories will be sweet, and they won’t hurt so much.

During this kitten saga, my husband said he had seen a third kitten at work. One that looked like the female calico we had rescued. He had seen the mother only once more and the kitten was pretty wild. I told him I didn’t want to hear about any more kittens! And after the loss of three cats, I really didn’t want to go through all that again. On Friday, others at my husband’s place of work captured the third kitten. It took three people to outsmart a baby cat. And of course my husband called, saying he had another kitten in a box.

Now why would this happen? Why would God allow this into our lives at this point in time? We’d had almost two weeks of a cat-free life, and I’d been concentrating on all the positives to that. No more cat box to clean or smell. Our daughter does the cleaning of it, but we all smell it, and I don’t like it. No more food or cat litter to purchase. No more taking care of another warm body in our house. When I asked one of our older daughters this, our youngest daughter heard me and answered. “Because I’ve been praying that God would send me another cat!”

We now have Callie, sister to the two kittens. She is a pretty calico, with the same loving demeanor of her sister. The first day in our home, she didn’t speak, she cowered, and she was very afraid. She sat through her bath, not making a sound, only purring. She had spent her life fighting for safety and security. Now she has both, and love. Callie checked out at the veterinarian yesterday. She is a part of our family, and she loves to be sung to as well. I would love to be able to have her siblings here for her. Some feline companionship for the times we are gone. I’m sure our daughter is praying about that!

For those of you that read my post yesterday, here is the link you needed: https://www.facebook.com/deborahanndykeman With all that has gone on the past few weeks, it’s no wonder I’m addled-brained! Have a terrific Tuesday!

Begging Is Good!

Okay, not really. I always told our children, “If you beg, it’s not going to happen.” Ask me once, I’ll consider it, ask me twice, it’s a missed opportunity. I can’t count how many times I’ve been shopping, (and this was ages ago, when I had small children, because you have to drag me into a grocery store now), that I have seen small, and not so small children writhing on the tiled floor. Now there’s a sentence for my editor! 😉 Usually this agonizing event, (for the shoppers), embarrassing event, (for the parent), and demeaning event, (for the child), took place over a box of cereal, or candy in the check-out aisle.

Maybe this didn’t happen for our children for a couple of reasons. I rarely purchased boxed cereal. It was expensive, and not really a great option for breakfast in my opinion. Granola wasn’t packaged nearly so pretty! Candy was also a rare treat. Again, expensive and not high on the food pyramid in our house. But I really think it had more to do with that second sentence I mentioned above. I had no toleration for begging.

So, I’m going to blame this on my O.C.D., which has not been diagnosed. And I am in no way belittling this. I know many people struggle with this mental disorder, and it is real. Extreme cases can keep a person from living a normal life. But in our house, I am the poster child for this. If I eat cookies, I have them in pairs. I group items in my mind. I stress about things like turning off the iron, the stove or a light when I’m several miles down the road. I find it difficult to sleep if I have the washing machine started…I want to finish that load of laundry! For me, the laundry is not done until it’s hung in the closet, or folded neatly in the drawer. I go over and over…and over checklists in my mind. And I know many of you can sympathize with some of this. Much of mine can be related to fatigue, and probably just getting older and forgetful.

If you are a writer, or have any kind of business, or advertise to some extent on Facebook, you know how important that ‘like’ button is. You know how great it is to share a post because it gets many eyes on that post. If you have a page dedicated to your profession, your business, etc. you really, really want likes for that page. It’s all about marketing and selling that business. Recently, our local public library had to begin another Facebook page. This library has been wonderful with advertising my books, having events, and just plain great to work with. So, I contacted all my friends on Facebook, that were local, requesting that they ‘like’ the new library page. It was a way for me to encourage this local business and support them. And it didn’t even hurt me financially or otherwise! 😉

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My author page on Facebook has been hovering in the mid-nineties rage for several months now. It’s beginning to poke at me a bit, and I really want to cross that 100 mark! Yes, it is a goal now! To reach 125 likes on my page would be even more fantastic! And even more than that, I would really like you, the reader on here, to be a part of that Facebook group. I promise it won’t hurt! And it won’t cost you a thing. That’s rather rare in this world today! And while you’re at it, you can request to be my friend, too. Isn’t this a strange social environment that we live in today? A bit like kindergarten, requesting someone to be your friend, rather than just letting it happen. Will have to think on that one some more! Have a great Monday, and start to your week!

So this is new content for Tuesday morning. Now look back at that third paragraph, last sentence. Much of mine can be related to fatigue, and probably just getting older and forgetful. Last night, I woke up in the middle of great sleeping, which is rare for me. I remembered that I had not added a link for you to go to to ‘like’ my FaceBook page! Well duh! https://www.facebook.com/deborahanndykeman

All my family will have a great laugh about this one, and I’m surprised that one of my daughters didn’t see that and let me know! I can’t get by with very many mistakes! Now, have a great Tuesday, and I hope to see you over at Facebook!