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!

Trust to Love and Be Loved

I grew up in a house full of animals. I never really thought much of it. We always had at least one cat, and usually a dog. When my brother and I became teenagers, we decide to buy a horse together and share the responsibilities of it. We had both enjoyed the couple of trail rides we had been on, and the riding in an arena. Well, after one time of cleaning stalls and seeing that there wasn’t much riding time, I really wasn’t interested anymore. Not to mention the Quarter horse we purchased was once a barrel racer, and we weren’t! I spent a few times on the very hard ground. The fun of horse ownership was very short-lived for me. My brother went on to be an extremely good rider, showed horses at the local fairs, winning many ribbons. He took English riding lessons and Dressage. I think of him as the first horse whisperer, before I knew there was such a thing. My sister also showed horses in the cart class, and our youngest brother worked with them a lot as well. For a long time, our family had many horses, and that was their life. The summers revolved around getting ready for the fair, and then the rotation of fair dates in August and September in the upstate New York region.

Animals were a part of my life. They were just always there. I always loved cats, and kittens were extra special. I was in 7th heaven when a stray cat ended up at our house in Arizona. She happened to be a beautiful cat, a long-haired Siamese, with a really rotten attitude. But she was also pregnant we soon discovered. She happily delivered a lot of kittens. (I want to say she had thirteen, but time has faded my memory. It was definitely more than seven!) Sadie thought the lining of my parents bed was the best place to have her kittens. Of course this wouldn’t work, so several times the mewing tangle of fur was relocated to my bedroom, and put in a box. Sadie spent most of her days for the first few days after the kittens were born, taking them back to the bed-lining. The kittens either got too big, or Sadie wore out, but she gave up the moving finally. This same batch of kittens traveled with us when we moved back to upstate New York, May of 1983. Sadie, her kittens, at least one more adult cat and a dog traveled in the dressing room of the horse trailer. I want to say two horses traveled with us, but again, after over thirty years, my memory fades. My father drove the truck pulling the horse trailer, and I drove my father’s Datsun, newly purchased and a five-speed. It was an interesting trip with six people and all those animals!

After marriage, cats were still generally a part of our lives. Many moves made it difficult at times, and I’ve become use to having a house free from cat hair and cat box odors. I rather like it that way. We have one cat, an older cat, and she really enjoys her summers outside. She is a wonderful, loyal cat, rather a watch-cat for our yard. She is pretty savvy as well.

But kittens are still very special. So when my husband sent me this picture last week, I felt terrible.

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He had found them where he works, no mommy could be located. They were weak and very hungry from not eating all day and being out in the 90+ heat. I took some farm milk to them and we were finally able to get them to eat a few drops. My husband brought them home with milk replacement and a bottle from the vet. After a bath in the kitchen sink and the removal of 9+ ticks from their tiny bodies, they settled down to eat, chewing that little nipple to pieces. We were delighted to see them using the little cat box we had placed in their tiny kitty apartment. It always fascinates me to see animals doing activities of daily living with no training! God’s creation is awesome!

One week later, they are drinking and eating from a dish. They run around, hopping over one another and wrestling. Of course the male is the aggressive one, and the female more quiet and loving. She puts up with him and smiles. My husband weighed them last night to see what they should be eating for dry food. The female, the calico, weighed 1.2 lbs. and the male 1.5 lbs. They have grown! This makes adopted mommies happy! And you can see from the picture taken last night that they are pretty happy and content. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, you might say.

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They are adorable, and I wish they could stay. But soon they will be in that teenager stage where my curtains are shredded and my sofa hanging in tatters. You know, rather like your home after your human teenagers leave? The plan was to take them to a shelter so they could be vaccinated, fixed and adopted out to a loving family.

It’s only been a week, but love and care have gone into these two babies. They have begun to trust us, whereas just a week ago they were scared and jumpy, trying to protect one another. I would like to think that someone would care for them the same, that another family would love and protect them the same as we would here, but that is not always the case. And that saddens me.

As a Christian, I have been told multiple times by other Christians that animals are only animals and they shouldn’t be treated as humans. And that is correct. They are not human, and as far as I’ve studied in the Bible, I do not believe that they will have a soul that will live eternally as ours does. But animals were given to us to care for, by God. It is His design. Some were given for food, some were given to be companionship. But all are to be protected and cared for by us. This was God’s design. There is no place for animal abuse and neglect. Whatever God has given us, is to be treated with respect and we are to do the most that we are able. After watching these two babies for the past week, again I am reminded at the ability of an animal to trust and love, and that is God-given. Shame and wrath on those that do not respect that!

If you take on the responsibility of an animal, and it is a lot of responsibility, please care for that animal. Have them vetted, have them sterilized so they don’t just have more and more babies that are abandoned and abused. Teach your children how to care for them and love them. If you don’t want to do all the above…don’t have pets! You are not respecting what God has designed. We are the humans, and we are to care for and do what’s best for the animal. Not act worse than the so-called animal.

This was not to be a post about my feelings about how animals are treated, but these last paragraphs have become that. Maybe because of the kittens that were born from a mother that was probably abandoned where my husband works. We have had so many animals over the years that have been left along side the road, or abused. And it is appalling to me. I believe it is to God as well. And someday, it will all be set right.

So back to the cute kittens that have graced our house for the past week. I pray good homes are found for them. I pray the effort and love we have put into them are not wasted, and the trust we have instilled has not put them at a disadvantage. But God knows.

You Aren’t What You Think!

I’m wondering when your mind and thinking processes catch up to your body. In my head, I think I can still work as I did when I was 18 years old. My brain wants to rationalize as if I was still in my early twenties. “Bungee jump…sure! Why not? Work in the yard for 8-10 hours, take a shower, then go out and have fun until midnight…I can handle that!”

Even up until about 3-5 years ago, I could still handle the working in the yard for 8-10 hours, and even longer. I was a bit sore, but after lying down in a cold room for the night, I was ready to hit it again the next day. Now, 3-4 hours in the same yard, and I’m done-in. And our yard is looking like it!

When we moved here 10 years ago, I wanted a sanctuary. Someplace for me to go and sit among the shrubbery and flowers. A quiet spot to do nothing in, just relax. Well, I definitely have the shrubbery now. It’s still not very quiet. The neighbor’s grandchildren have progressed from the riding bikes through my flowers and screaming, to the teenage years of blaring radios and loud mufflers. Walking into the yard right now sends shivers down my spine as my eyes find every corner of the yard that needs attention.

Yesterday, our youngest and I tackled the ‘monster hedge’. This is what it looked like last March after a good trimming with the chainsaw.

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Spring Daffodils

Now it’s a jungle out there! This is the hedge in the front yard. I have two in the backyard surrounding the garden. I love it for the windbreak and the privacy it gives. But each year, our son-in-law comes over and chops it down with a chainsaw to a more manageable height. And then it grows again! If we lived in the middle of nowhere, it would be wonderful. It grows quickly and it’s hardy. But in a neighborhood with power lines, it’s just too much. Our daughter and I only tackled the sides of the monster hedge, cutting off the branches that attacked our vehicles each time we drove into the driveway. The tops will need the chainsaw once again. The hedge in the front now looks like this picture from last summer, only the hedge is about 6 feet taller:

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Yes, I think my yard is out of control. I think it’s time for an apartment with a couple tomato plants in containers on my tiny deck. And that is not the thinking of 18-year-old me! My younger self was not constrained with health problems or thoughts of restrictions on what I could do. I could do it all! And our poor children were my little helpers as I did. They could all tell you stories of their tortuous lives as they helped me with my projects.

Our son was the privileged crew member on this little stone terrace. It looks so neat and tidy here!

I hope at some point that our children don’t recall just the bad moments of hard work. The sweating hours in the heat and sun. Caring for the younger children in the house, and making meals while I painted outside or worked in the garden. My prayer is that they learned the value of a hard day’s work. The sense of accomplishment from completing a project and having it look fantastic. The knowledge that you can do much with a little elbow grease and the willingness to try something new. Those will last you a lifetime.

Yes, my mind is getting there. After only a couple hours yesterday, I’m done-in today. But you can get down the driveway, and hopefully our youngest is learning something along the way. I’m not as motivated as I once was, something our oldest four children remind me of every now and then. So I guess my 18 year-old brain is beginning to catch up as well! Have a beautiful summer day!

Faith

Bad Things

None of us are without pain or regrets. This life really hurts at times. After a couple weeks of reading some pretty heavy stories about child abuse, this is very fresh in my mind.

When I was first married, I attended SUNY Cobleskill, taking some classes in Early Childhood. I had always loved babysitting as a teenager, and I knew I wanted to be a mother as quickly as I could. (As it turned out, I found out I was pregnant with our first child just a few weeks after starting those classes. This was after a couple of years with infertility and dealing with all those issues. So my college career was cut short after that semester.) Another reason I took those classes was to work for Headstart. I did some volunteer time there, and what an eye opener that was! This is not to say that it was a bad program, only that I observed different parenting than what I had seen before, and it wasn’t always good. I am sure any school teacher could say the same.

I want to use the words, fascinate or intrigue here, but maybe shock would fit better. I am, and will continually be shocked, fascinated, intrigued, and even physically nauseous at what a person may go through in their life.

And still grow up to be a person that is whole.

God has given our bodies and our minds, our souls an incredible ability to heal. And that’s what fascinates and intrigues me. That’s what I write about. Just as a tiny tree may be walked on, the leaves torn off, and the weather tortuous to it…only to stand tall once again…so we are as people.

I personally will never understand the awful things God allows in our lives, and especially the life of a child. They arrive in this world a tiny bundle of expectation and potential, only needing protection, love and training. And to some, this is not important, and not taken seriously. Some abuse this privilege of a child…horribly. But I do know that God does not observe this lightly.

Luke 17:2 King James Version (KJV)

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

No, I do not understand, and someday I will ask God “Why?” But I do know that these terrible, tough times build character, and make a person stronger. I’ve lived it in my own life.

It is very difficult to be thankful in the midst of adversity. It is sometimes more than we can stand to stay in a situation when we want to run. But just as the picture above says, the bad things can, and do put us on the path to the best things in our lives. The key is faith. Faith won’t take away the problem, and it won’t make it better. But it does keep you looking ahead, and striving for more. It gives you hope.

Boldness to Speak

When I sit down to read a book, especially in the summer, I want a light, happy read. I don’t know why this is more important to me in the warmer months, but it is. I desire to read stories about beaches, and warm days on the sand, children playing outside with the fireflies. The long days of summer were always a happy time for me. Hours of swim lessons, and neighborhood friends, riding bikes up and down the sidewalk. Times I thought would go on forever.

But as we all know, they do not.

As far as I can recall, I have not done a book review on here. I review almost everything I can. If I purchase something, I review it. This is important to me because I rely so heavily on reviews of a product before I make a purchase. Sometimes I watch reviews and investigate for months before I buy. I want to know what I’m getting for my money. And usually, the reviews are pretty right-on. Most of the reviews I write are on TripAdvisor and Amazon, and those two places are where I read the most reviews.

So when I read a book, I review it. If I was less-than thrilled with it, I will only give it a star rating. If it was really terrible, I will write my humble opinion, and if I enjoyed it, I will give the reasons why. Today, I read a collection of poems written by a woman that I have come to know through her blog, https://rhythminlife.net

This little book, which you may purchase or read for free if you have kindle unlimited right here: https://www.amazon.com/Audacity-Her-Making-Sense-What-ebook/dp/B07256W1Z3/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498058670&sr=1-1&keywords=the+audacity+of+her was an emotional read. As someone that encountered abuse in my early teens, it really spoke to me. The author lets us into her soul, and that’s difficult to do. Only after much healing, physically as well as emotionally, can a person write with such pain and truth, but not bitterness. This book is a must-read for those that have dealt with abuse as children, or are trying to understand a person that has been abused.

No, this book is not a light, beach-read. But it is an excellent, easy read. Because even through the author’s pain as a child, you sense hope in what she has become today. And that makes me happy.

Thank you, Susan for your poems. For letting us see a glimpse of what has made you the strong woman you are today. Someday, I look forward to a collection of poems on the process of healing, because I know those words are there to share.