I Was Where?

At one time in my life, I spent literally hours at shopping malls. I kept up this habit until we had two small children. By then it was a great way to get out of the house for a few hours and incorporate some much-needed walking into my day. I never really spent much money, but I recall the people-watching and the store windows. At Christmas time, I loved the decorations and the music, the shoppers with the common goal of locating that perfect gift.

Then, for many years, the thought of entering that brightly-lit fray had the power to make me feel as though an elephant was sitting on my chest. The mall was the last place I wanted to be, and during the Christmas season I really wanted to avoid it. My comfy office chair guided me through many years of birthday and Christmas shopping.

I’ve noticed that life seems to travel in full circles. I’m also the person that would always do the opposite of others, not wanting to follow the crowds. If hair was to be short, mine was long, and if curls were the go-to style, I wouldn’t fuss so much to have that bounce. I haven’t told my family this, but the other day when I was contemplating the painting of our house, two sides one color and two sides of another color flashed through my head. After all, people don’t normally decide to do this to their homes. (And, if you live in a neighborhood with rules, you may not be allowed to do this!) I just know that our house has been the same color for over ten years now, and I want something different and unique, but all in good taste…of course!

So maybe that is the greater reason that I found enjoyment in not one, but two days at two malls…all in the same week! That, or the company I was with. It was also an excellent way to get that walking in! Because I was having such a good time, I even had my picture taken a few times…also a rarity. Thank you to my husband and our youngest for two fun days. It reminded me of why I once spent many hours at the mall, and shopping. The picture below is actually at Home Depot. I’ve never looked so good in red!

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I think this is one of my favorite pictures of my husband and me. It just makes me smile. Merry Christmas! May your Christmas shopping be peaceful, enjoyable and those gifts right at your fingertips.

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Wednesday Verse

This is another verse that I used often when our children were small. It was the first verse I had them memorize. And with all the verses our children memorized, I tried to do the same. My memory skills were never great, and they have become worse as I grow older, but I tried. If nothing else, having five children learn them, helped to put them into my mind and recall them when I needed to.

I will make an exception to the statement I made about trying to memorize all the verses they were learning. By the time our children were in AWANA, they were learning them so quickly and so many, that I kind of gave up! Even after working with AWANA children for almost 15 years, hearing them recite the same verses over and over, I still did not have them completely memorized. But I did generally know where they were to be found in the Bible, and the general idea of the verse. At least enough for me to look them up and get them into context! Someday, if I am ever without my Bible, I pray those bits and pieces come together.

Psalm 56:3 King James Version (KJV)

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

And here it is again:

Psalm 56:3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

[a]When I am afraid,
[b]I will put my trust in You.

Whenever possible, I had our children memorize a verse in the King James Version. I think it has a certain flow to it, and it is beautiful. I would use the New American Standard Bible to clarify if they were stumbling over a certain word. Which is why I like to include both on here.

The picture above and below made me think of this verse. You follow that boardwalk for the first time. You don’t know where it’s going, or what you’re going to find along the way. Our lives are rather like that much of the time. So, you head out, and when the path becomes twisting and dark, and you become afraid, you put your trust in Him. He will lead you through.

fall-1432252_1920Have a wonderful Wednesday!

The Newest Arrival!

No, this is not about another grandchild, although in about five months, we should be making that announcement. I’ve said it before, and I know I will again. Grandchildren are the best little people in this life! We have blessings running over in that area!

After many months, and lots of hard work from my editor and our oldest daughter, I can finally say that my newest book is available! So many of you have asked about it, and I really appreciate that! As I am writing this post, Amazon is still updating my author page, but you may purchase both the paperback and kindle editions right here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1542917301/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1497870196&sr=1-5&keywords=deborah+ann+dykeman

If you purchase the paperback edition, the kindle edition is yours for free!

Here’s a little sneak peak at the back cover:

Back cover, When Hope Blooms

I will also be having a giveaway for this book over at Goodreads. Check back here for more details on that. And if you love getting free stuff, please enter to win a signed copy of the fourth book in the Rubyville series, A Place in My Heart. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32662285-a-place-in-my-heart There are just ten more days to enter this giveaway. I’ve sent out nine books from the Rubyville series so far and you could be another winner. A giveaway for my first published work, To Thee I’m Wed, (and the most talked about story so far), will begin on July 1st.

Lots of exciting things happening this summer! I have several events scheduled. The best part about that is I have the privilege of meeting you, the reader! And of course, I have a second book about the little town of Wheatacre, Kansas that is speaking to me. I know, that sounds a bit crazy, but if you are a writer, you understand!

Whew! Now that I have that out of my head, maybe I can get a little sleep before I need to get up for the day! Have a beautiful day!

Psalm 118:24

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Simple Pleasures

I absolutely love receiving pleasure from the very simple things in life!

It’s a reminder that you don’t need a lot of money to be happy. Your house doesn’t have to be enormous or in an exclusive neighborhood. The car you drive needs to be serviceable, or even a sturdy bike will do to get you from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’. And most people have two great feet that will do the job. The climate in your part of the world doesn’t have to be perfect. Contentment in…wherever you live, wherever you’re at, however you look, and how much money you make is where it’s at.

Today, I wanted to concentrate on those simple pleasures. The things in my life that give me comfort,  make me smile, and make a day that’s not going so well, just a little better. I hope they make you smile as well.

Watching the birds at my back door. Hedges planted just for them, so they would be safe and have a home for their families. I’ve now been rewarded with six pairs of cardinals, and they give me great joy.

The hummingbirds that return every summer. They sneak up, hovering over my flowers, pausing for a short visit in their busy lives.

Beautiful scenery of the seasons. The photos and pictures that take my breath away. And no, I didn’t include winter. That may not make some of you smile! But you can look forward to spring.

Simple houses in country settings. A place that I would like to one day live. If it was beside water, even better!

Landscapes that cause you to just say, “Wow!” There are so many of those. Beauty can be seen any place in the world, no matter if it’s a forest, field, mountain, river, ocean, desert or sky view. Just take a moment to visually enjoy what the photographer, or painter has seen.

Sitting beside my little fireplace, whether reading or watching a movie. It’s extra special if my husband is there with me.

The smell of coffee brewing, sunny pictures, and cute animals always make me smile. My husband took the picture of the butterfly.

And of course, my family brings me great joy. A husband to share my life with, children, their spouses and grandchildren that make it all worth while.

We  all have these simple pleasures in our lives. Take time to seek them out, relish the feel of them, smile at all that you have accomplished. It makes your heart swell with joy…and that’s what life is about.

Have Fun…Shop Local

I had the pleasure of attending another event in our little town on Saturday night. It’s called Candlelight Charm and it’s held every year on the first Saturday in November. The purpose is to get everyone in the Christmas shopping mode. The stores all stay open late and they have specials, drawings and refreshments for the shoppers. It’s just another neat tradition our little town has.

Of course I was there with my books! Our oldest daughter was chained to our booth, so she didn’t get a chance to walk around like she loves to do. But it was great to have her there for moral support and to talk to people. I’m a much better writer than ‘speaker-to-people’ person. If I have a speaking event, then I’m good with that. But small talk is not my forte! I usually end up babbling, talking in circles, until my face turns red and I just smile.

But when a grandchild enters, I have no problem babbling.

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As you can see, when it comes to grandchildren, I can be a pretty scary person. Poor Ava, if she could walk, she probably would have jumped from the stroller and run very, very far away.

We had a good time, sold a few books, ate some fudge and met lots of people. All in all a great evening. Until next year…

Here’s the rest of the family, minus a couple working sons-in-law, and of course the picture taker, our second oldest. I think they had a good time too.

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Up, Up and Away!

We’ve all been there. And we’ve sat on one side of the aisle or the other. We’ve been the parent of a child or children traveling by plane, or we haven’t been.

Deep words… right? But you know what I’m talking about!

I used to love to fly, back in the late seventies. Remember when you boarded the plane, carrying half the items from your house with you? You crammed them into the overhead storage, holding the doors shut and hoping they wouldn’t pop open. You checked in the other half of your house. If you were on a long flight, they served a leisurely meal, asked if you would like a drink…anything of your choice. They stocked the beverage aisle of a grocery store on those jets. Then you could watch a movie, take a nap…and they even offered you hearing devices, pillows and blankets at no extra charge. What a concept! Oh, and you could stay dressed before boarding your flight.

Those were the days, and I miss them!

Those were also the days when I didn’t have children.

I really don’t know why I flew so much when our children were young. I was not a career woman, very content to stay home. But I did fly a few times, and once with three children under the age of seven. The youngest two months old. We landed in New Jersey, and that’s a complete post all on its own! Needless to say, I was very happy for a few minutes to have my oldest with me to crawl under the stall door and unlock it so we could use the facilities. I didn’t happen to have change on hand while juggling a baby to pay to use them!

But I digress…again! When you are traveling with children, you board the plane with armor on. You walk that long aisle, trying to focus on your seat assignment, and you make eye contact with no one. Those that see you coming lugging your child, your stroller, car seat and diaper bag, scoot down in their seats and pretend to sleep. Cover their faces with a magazine or begin looking for people to trade seats with. Seriously!

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And I have done the same.

While having the privilege to fly child-free a few times, I prayed that family would pass several seats beyond me. I just wanted a few hours all to myself. But, as you can guess, I was the lucky one. A little boy of about three was my seat companion for one flight. He was fairly well-behaved, coloring and chattering. I could deal with that. I just went into Mommy-mode once again. The six-year old on another flight that stood on his seat behind me, taking the clip from my hair and spilling juice down my arm was another problem. If the flight hadn’t been so crowded, I would have been begging to trade. I would have even served drinks.

Flying with children is a challenge and I was blessed several times with seat mates that were special. While traveling with our son when he was very small, one older lady actually said out loud…I was shocked…that she was hoping I was next to her so she could travel with a baby. I almost ran because I thought there had to be something wrong with her and I had better protect my child! We sat with her for three hours. She held our son so I could eat, and while he was napping. She even fed him a bottle. We had very pleasant conversation and that flight was a joy! Another flight  with our three oldest, a gentleman asked if he could assist me with the diaper bag and car seat on my way off the plane. He said his wife traveled alone with their children and he never understood what she had gone through until he had watched our little family.

The flight attendants were always very helpful and cheerful. Such a need for a worn-out, travel-weary mother.

Yesterday, our second oldest flew with our grandchild for the first time. And yes, she had the same looks. I think it was her second flight that she had the seats to herself and she said that was just fine! Does this little one look like she would give any kind of grief?

Thank you to those of you that see a need and help. And to those that hide and pretend to sleep…I won’t fault you. I understand the fear! Have a great Saturday!

Sunrise, Sunset

Have you seen Fiddler On the Roof? I did, many years ago. For me it was really special because my mother had the sheet music for all the songs in the movie. So, by the time I watched the actual movie, I knew the songs. Sunrise, Sunset always made me cry, even when I was a little girl, and it was always my favorite one to ask my mother to play. Now that I have grown children and grandchildren…it takes on an even more important meaning in my life.

Here is a clip of that song in the movie, no copyright infringement intended, just enjoyment for the music.

The birth of a baby, a wedding and funerals are obviously very emotional and transitional times in our lives. A new baby certainly brings happiness with a new addition, but stress also comes with that. You are responsible for another human being…their welfare, in the form of food, clothing and shelter. As a parent you have much input in that child and they way they form their ideals for life.

A wedding is to be a happy time and celebration. But it can bring sadness, just as the above clip shows. For parents, that child is grown and beginning life on their own, with another person. You aren’t the most important people in that child’s life any longer. As a parent, you know the struggles and hardships that are to come…but you also understand the love and companionship that is shared in no other way. The weddings of our three daughters were very difficult days for me. They all married wonderful men, and I was honestly very happy for them and the life they were going to share with their husbands, but I was very sad. Sad for all the years that had gone before, all the memories that would never be re-enacted with them. A very huge part of my life, was being carried away.

Funerals are typically thought of as sad. Whether that person was here a few days or many, many years, there has been a bond formed, and they will be missed, by someone. For the Believer, they go on to be Face-to-Face with the Lord, and you rejoice for them. But those of us that remain behind are …sad. Sad for the loss of that person in our lives.

Sunrise, sunset…over and over in our lifetime. The magnificence of a new day greets us with hues of gold, lavender, pink and orange. Those colors bring hope and happiness to my soul, and give me encouragement to start the day off right. The evening dusky colors are often blazing orange as the sun sinks away as if to say…”Ta-da! Day is done!” God knew what He was doing!

Have a wonderful Monday! I hope the sunrise got you off to a great start. The above picture was taken by my husband on Friday night while I was at work. He, our youngest and our second oldest’s dog were enjoying the lake as the day gave its farewell.