Friday, October 31, 2014

Leaving and Looking Forward

The Five Minute Friday word for this week is “leave,” which is an appropriate word for this last day of October. It has been a busy month and has passed by very quickly for me. Even though I started late with the 31 Days challenge, I wrote a blog post almost every day leaving out only 4 days.


As I leave October behind, I look forward to November which is a full month for us. Besides Thanksgiving our family has a lot of birthdays including my own which is in a couple of days. Even though I may be leaving off writing a post every day, my month will still be busy.

When I think of birthdays I think of my children who are still living at home but also those who have left to create a new family. But, you know, even though they leave they are not really gone in the sense that their presence is still felt.

It's so much fun when my girls come back to visit with their husbands and children. We love to linger at the breakfast table after the meal drinking coffee and talking together.

There will come a time when we each will be leaving this earth, and even though the ones left behind will be sad, they will have memories and know that we will meet again one day.


This is the last post in my 31 Days of Love, Faith and Creativity. You can find a list of all the posts HERE.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Touch of Love

Today is the day for Jamie's poetry prompt. We are thinking about things we can do even when we are tired that might seem small but can make big differences in our lives. Her prompt is: I could... or (I can...) To find out more about it you can go to her website where you will find helps to write your poem.
                                                                     

A Touch of Love                                           
I could keep a vase of flowers
sitting out within our sight
I could light a scented candle
an aroma to delight

I could serve some homemade chai tea
to warm us with its spices
I could make a chocolate sheet cake
with big ginormous slices

I could call a friend who's hurting
to provide a listening ear
I could speak with words of kindness
Never harsh tones causing fear

I could smile instead of frowning
Bringing cheer for those I see                                          
I could say words of thanksgiving
Let complaining never be

I could put on happy music
to replenish us with mirth
I could compliment another
Helping them to see their worth

I could pray each day for guidance
To help me in this quest
I could linger on the porch swing
Taking time for daily rest



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Creative October






This is Day 29 of my 31 Days of Love, Faith and Creativity. It has been a busy month, but the discipline to write every day has been good for me. There are two days left after today, and I will be participating in a poetry prompt tomorrow and Five Minute Friday the next day. At the suggestion of my daughter, I thought I'd use today to share with you a favorite post from each of the three categories.


It was not really hard to decide which one for the topic of love.  In What is Love?  which is the title of my post for Day 15, I share some characteristics of love from I Corinthians 13, but I don't stop there. Throughout that day God was teaching me more about love from the circumstances and from the interaction with family culminating in a beautiful rainbow at the end of the day. There are also several photographs included in that post.


For faith I had a little more difficulty deciding which post I liked the best, but I kept coming back to Day 22: Changing Sky, Unchangeable God. This one reminds me that God is always the same; He never changes. He is a faithful God who can always be trusted. I use several photographs of the sky to help illustrate my point.


Creativity is actually interwoven in all the blog posts whether through the writing, the poems, the photography or the artwork, so that actually made it more difficult to choose one favorite. I believe that Day 14: Give Me Grace incorporates all three themes of love, faith and creativity, and I especially like the poem I wrote for that day.


I hope you will take time to look over them and that you will find encouragement there. Feel free to leave a comment sharing any thoughts you may have.


You can find the previous posts of my 31 Days of Love, Faith and Creativity series HERE.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Different Kinds of Hope


For Marvia Davidson's RealTalk this week the topic is hope. In an online write-in I attended back in August my friend AbbyNorman, gave us a prompt – a time for mourning and a time for dancing – and she posed the question as to whether the two can exist at the same time. After thinking about and discussing it we came to the conclusion that there could actually be joy in the midst of mourning. I believe the reason for this is hope.

Hope can mean anything from desire to optimism to anticipation or expectancy to a promise that is sure. 

My father left this earth in February of 1992. I mourn the loss of my father. He never got to meet all of his grandchildren or any of his great grandchildren. I miss him but according to the Scriptures I will see him again. He is one of those in the cloud of witnesses we are told about in Hebrews 12.

There is a sure hope knowing that we will one day be reunited, and for that I can rejoice.


He would be so excited to know that I have begun writing more, because he told me once that he wanted to be a writer. He was an avid reader of different genres but also had books on composition and writing. I wish I had taken the time to talk with him about it, to learn more about his dreams, but I can continue my dream and also spend time helping my husband, children and grandchildren find and follow their dreams. He would be pleased to know that so many of his grandchildren also enjoy writing. While we still mourn his loss, this can also be a time of “dancing” as we continue on in our lives knowing it would have given him joy.

There is hope found in knowing how much he loved writing and to see his posterity carry it out.

Writing for me is a way to express myself. There is something about putting the words on a page that is very freeing. I love to be inspired and I love to create. It's hard sometimes to find just the right word, but I enjoy the challenge. I use an online thesaurus which helps to widen my vocabulary. Writing makes me happy. I write to encourage others and myself. When my spirits are down it helps to write something. Oftentimes it is a poem, and when I'm done I'm usually encouraged. One day soon I hope to be able to publish a children's picture book of haiku. After that I would love to have a book of poetry and maybe go on to more children's books. Here is a part of the haiku picture book.






Blooms of pink and red
Sparkling raindrops on green leaves
Beautiful roses!









This illustrates a hope that is filled with desire, optimism and aspiration.

At the beginning of the year I wrote about some things I wanted to accomplish this year. One of those hopes was to meet in person at least five story sisters, fellow writers I had met online. Finally in early September I was able to meet one of them.


Later that month I met two more.


Next month I am planning to meet up with some of them again which will include two more that I have been wanting to meet for awhile but didn't know how or when it could work out. One of those two is Marvia Davidson, who hosts Real Talk. I am very excited!

This illustrates the kind of hope that is filled with expectancy and anticipation.

I have written about different times, different people, different circumstances, but in all there is found hope in one of its many forms. Our lives together can be thought of as combining into one giant book. Every year is a new chapter; every week a new paragraph; every day a new sentence; every hour a new word; every minute a new thought. 

Our thoughts and ideas come first and we expand them into words on a page to form sentences which then become paragraphs which lead to chapters, and finally at the end of life our part of the book is finished. When we invest in the lives of others and they in ours, we can instill hope and encouragement as we continue on this journey of life. 

Hope can be found every day of our lives whether it be a glimmer or a blinding light.


We'd love to have you join us for Real Talk and share your thoughts on hope.

This is Day 28 of my 31 Days of Love, Faith and Creativity. You can find the other posts HERE.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Another Move, Another Baby

In the summer of 1978, when I was five months pregnant with our second child we moved from New Hampshire back to Jacksonville, Florida. My younger brother and his friend came up to help us. As we didn't have much furniture we decided to use a large U-Haul trailer, pulled by our old Chevy Suburban which had no air conditioning. My brother's car did, so Sara and I rode in it the whole time while the guys took turns driving the other. It was pretty uneventful except for the fact that I think the Suburban overheated at least once during the 24 hour drive. We broke up the trip by spending a night with Steve's sister in New Jersey. Upon arriving in Jacksonville we moved in with my parents until our daughter, Jamie, was born.

It was hard to find a doctor at first that we could afford. Compared to the low cost in New Hampshire, Florida was out of sight. We finally found an older doctor who still charged a low fee, so we chose him. He was one of the best I have ever had. Even though Jacksonville was a bigger city than Amherst, NH, where Sara was born, they were not really as advanced in their system of labor and delivery. It was a pretty quick birth like my first, but unlike the first they didn't take me right to my room. They insisted I go to recovery first. My doctor told them I didn't need any recovery, but they said it was hospital policy. The funny thing is, though, that their recovery room was being remodeled so I had to lie there in the hall so I could be monitored. Talk about a way NOT to get rest. At least I was able to leave the hospital the next day after less than 24 hours there.

(I think she was 3 months here.)
Bringing Jamie home from the hospital was greatly anticipated by my relatives who lived near so there was quite a lineup when we arrived back home. As we walked in the front door we were greeted by my parents, my brother, my grandmother, my cousin and little 2 year old Sara. With everyone exclaiming over the new baby, Sara was just overwhelmed and began crying. Immediately Steve scooped her up and the four of us went to our room, closed the door and had special family time.


Jamie was not as easy going as her older sister had been as a baby and she didn't like to sleep. What I could always count on was the swing. She loved it and would usually drop off to sleep pretty quickly. When she was six weeks old she got very sick. It was pretty scary for awhile. Imagine having your 6-week old baby go limp in your arms because of congestion and high fever. To top it off our pediatrician was out of town. The doctor on call recommended a combination of aspirin and Tylenol which is what finally helped to break the fever, and she began to improve.

(Christmas of 1978)
When Jamie was about 2 months old, right after Christmas, we moved into a rental house near the high school I had attended. Our neighborhood had a long block with a sidewalk so I would get out every day to take a walk pushing Jamie in a stroller with Sara riding her tricycle. We enjoyed those times of being outdoors. I thought it would be fun to put a blanket outside in the yard so that we could sit an have a picnic, but that was short lived. The first time I tried it I noticed lots of sand fleas hopping around so we had to forego having outside picnics.


There were lots of happy times in that house despite the problems we had there. The girls loved when I played the piano. Jamie loved being close to Sara.


One day there was a bad storm. The drains in the road were blocked with leaves and pine needles so the water started to rise. First it came into the closed-in carport where we had stored things like my school yearbooks and some pictures which were destroyed by the water. Sara had fun riding her tricycle in circles in the ankle deep water. Later the water rose so high that when a truck went down the road it made waves and forced some of the water into our living room. It also eventually came in the back door of the house, too. I remember calling the company we rented from and telling them about the flood asking them to come check it out, but they never came. 

When it came time for us to leave, the company was not going to refund our deposit telling us that the house smelled bad because of our dog. Well, our dog was not even in the house except for that extra room. The smell was from when the carpet got wet during the flooding. I wrote a letter explaining all the problems we had there from a roach infestation to a broken gate and the flood, and they finally agreed to give back our deposit.

After leaving that house we spent a month in St. Petersburg, in a house belonging to Steve's sister and was right behind his parents. While there Steve had a phone interview and accepted a teaching job at a boarding school in South Dakota. So we went back to the home of my parents to pack up and get ready to move again. 

(my dad with Jamie)
While there we celebrated Sara's birthday.

(Sara playing with one of her presents while Jamie looked on)
We also went to Disneyworld.

(Steve, me and my mom with Sara and Jamie in front)

This is Day 27 in my 31 Days of Love, Faith and Creativity.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Grace to You

Sharing a little artwork today and a verse to encourage.  Linking up with Lisha Epperson's Give Me Grace.





Day 26 in my 31 Days of Love, Faith, and Creativity. Find the rest of the posts HERE.

Beauty Can Always Be Found


There's a little story behind this simple work of art. I had painted what I thought would be a good background page for a quote or poem, but the more I looked at it the more I didn't like it. Rather than throw out the page I decided to cover it entirely with other colors of paint, but I still wasn't satisfied. So I did it again, this time using black, blue and white experimenting with different strokes and watching to see what would happen.

This was an improvement over the first two that were rather ugly, but still not as nice as I'd like. So I thought I'd try to find a magazine photograph of a flower, put it in the middle of the page and say something about finding beauty in the ugliness. After trying a couple of different flowers that way it just didn't look right.

Then I decided to use the picture with the rocks and stream and try to blend it in with the background. I thought that worked rather well, but it still needed something.  Looking again at the flower pictures I chose the rose. I liked the idea of adding it off to the side where it would contrast and stand out from the darker background.

Originally I wrote the words on paper, cut them out and glued them onto the art journal page. Not being sure if I could get a good photograph of it I used a program on my computer to print the words on the photo and decided that would be the one I would use on the blog.  Then I took a picture of the original one and now I'm not sure which I like better.  What would you decide?


This is Day 25 of my 31 Days of Love, Faith and Creativity. You can find the other posts HERE.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Dare

I'm in the car writing this in a journal while listening to Cliff Richard. My husband is driving and I'm just enjoying the ride and the music. We are heading to a daughter's to have supper and spend the evening. Actually, one of my sons is making pizza there.


Now you may wonder what all this has to do with the word “dare.” Think about it like this. We are “daring” to leave our quiet home and fight interstate rush hour traffic to drive for an hour to spend time with family.

(This was our view as we traveled)
When I was younger when I'd hear the word “dare” it was in relation to someone being taunted by “I dare you!” But there was also a song we sang in church called “Dare to Be a Daniel.” Daniel trusted God to the point of being thrown into the lion's den. He stood for what was right not knowing whether he would live or die.

I like to think of dare as being willing to do what it takes to throw off chains of expectations. Go against the flow if necessary to be the person God has called you to be.

If you're interested in participating in Five Minute Friday, come on over to Kate's blog where you'll find all the information and see what others have written.

This is Day 24 of my 31 Days of Love, Faith, and Creativity.



Enough for All

I'm linking up with Jamie's PoetryPrompt again. We'd love to have you join with a poem of your own. Here is her prompt for this week:

"If you opened your hands to receive, what might the outcome be?  Believe in enough."




My fists are tightly closed
facing downwards
I open my hands
a symbol of letting go

Saying goodbye to things
that cause me stress
that want me to despair 
that show me I am broken

My fists are relaxed now
facing upwards
I open my hands
a symbol of receiving

All God has for me
Peace to flood my soul
Hope to end despair
Love to make me whole

My hands are now too small
I can hold no more
Filled to overflowing
Grace enough for all 

As usual, these poems are not meant to be edited too much or polished, they are like a first draft. You can find out more by visiting Jamie's place.

This is Day 23 of my 31 Days of Love, Faith and Creativity. You can find the rest HERE.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Changing Sky, Unchangeable God

There is something beautiful about an October sky with it's deep blues and many different cloud formations. I love to relax on my front porch and just gaze at the sky. It is so vast and seemingly unending. It is also changeable. One minute the sky is clear and the next thing you know storm clouds gather with lightning flashes and roaring thunder; then just as quickly all is calm again with white, fluffy clouds floating across the sky.

The heavens really do declare the glory of God showing us His handiwork.

Sometimes there is not a cloud in sight, just a lovely shade of blue going on for miles.



Sometimes there is a combination of deep blue sky and scattered fluffy, white clouds.


When the wind is blowing the clouds can change shape so quickly as illustrated by these next two pictures which were taken within just a few minutes of each other. 




Yes, clouds come and go changing almost constantly, but there is something, or rather Someone who never changes, who is always the same, who is always faithful, and can always be counted on to do exactly as He says. We can rest in that fact and put our trust in our God who is full of love and compassion for His children.



Other posts in my 31 Days of Love, Faith and Creativity can be found HERE.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why Must He Suffer?

This week's Real Talk is about suffering. There are many types of suffering that people experience. Why do some people suffer and others do not?  Why do some suffer more than others?  I do not know if anyone can really answer these questions.

But I do know that God provides for us in the midst of our suffering. 

My oldest son has a form of MD (muscular dystrophy). My youngest son also has some symptoms of it, and struggles some, but his is a milder form. My middle son was blessed with very good health and not a trace of the MD. For that we are thankful, but I think sometimes he gets called on more than his fair share. He is very patient and understanding of his brothers and helps where he can. The one I want to talk about here is my oldest son.

He will soon be 24 years old and lives day in, day out with pain and achiness. When he sits down he just has to fall into the seat. Then he struggles to get back up. He struggles to walk. It is getting harder and harder to go up and down stairs. He has to be very careful around children or pets because just bumping up against him could cause him to fall. On uneven ground especially he has a hard time, but using a walking stick helps. When he goes out somewhere he uses a cane and lately a wheelchair, because it's a little safer for him.


Sometimes he accepts his disability and handles it very well. Other times he gets depressed. It can be hard for him to see others doing things he cannot do. Often I feel like I have failed him because maybe I didn't do enough when he was smaller. I know it isn't my fault, but I just wonder why he had to have this problem.

My mother heart aches for him. I wish I could make it all better. 

It does help me to write about it. I am so thankful for him and know that he tries so hard. I wish I could help him more, but I'm not always sure what he needs. Sometimes I resent that he has to have so much help, but I try not to show that. I don't resent him. I resent the fact that he struggles. I ask God for courage and strength to be able to smile and help him realize his worth and his importance and to be able to encourage him. Why does he have to suffer so much? I don't have the answer.


He is a writer. When he was younger, he used to tell me that he thought God allowed him to have MD so that he would take time to write, because if he didn't have it he probably would be doing something else. He's been working for several years on a fantasy series, changing and improving it. I'm looking forward to seeing him have the first book ready for publishing. He has joined a local writing group, which includes some published writers and an editor. They have been very encouraging to him and love his work. He really looks forward to the monthly meetings. These are good things, but we all still struggle. I want more for him and I don't know how to go about it.

So I ask the question, “Why?” I don't understand. 

I know all the pat answers -  “God must have allowed it for a reason.” “You haven't done anything wrong to cause this.” “Maybe one day he will be healed.”  We hope for healing but that is not always God's answer. He has promised strength in weakness and often chooses the weak to accomplish His purposes.


There are times when he is feeling very encouraged and is so upbeat and happy. He encourages me. He makes cups of tea for me and helps with some of the cooking. During those times he tries to bring a sense of joy to our family and does it very well.

Despite his condition, he has two nephews who absolutely adore him. He will sit on the couch and they will bring dinosaurs and other toys and he will be so imaginative with them as they act out stories together. Just recently one of them said he was his favorite uncle, because he was so much fun to be with.




















But he still suffers.

I still wonder why.

I still don't have the answers.

I had him read this, because I didn't want to write about it without his permission. After reading he said that he doesn't really think the same as he did when a child. What he told me was that he believes the MD is a way that he can take part in the sufferings of Christ, and is what God is using to teach him humility, since a child of God must be humbled before they are exalted, and must suffer with Christ before they are raised with him.

It reminds me of the thorn in the flesh that the apostle Paul asked three times to be removed, but look at God's answer found in in II Corinthians 12:9. He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

There will be a day when my son will be healed. It may not be during his life here on earth, but one day he will be made whole.



This is Day 21 in my 31 Days of Love, Faith and Creativity.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Of Dogs and Babies

Here's the story I promised last week of what our dog did while we were at the hospital for Sara's birth. On the evening of June 26, 1976, when Steve and my mom arrived home, they were met with quite a bit of destruction, compliments of our dog, Mel, whom they could not find for at least FIVE MINUTES. He was hiding somewhere in that tiny house of about 600 square feet. We thought we had securely contained him in the kitchen, but that was not to be. Being very bored Mel had chewed on whatever he could find, including eating some of the homemade bread. Tiring of that he went on to greater things.

Making his way past our little barricade Mel not only piled all the little throw rugs in a heap but also chewed on the couch seat cushions scattering the foam all around the room. Since that was obviously not enough damage, he found our guest book and wedding photo album and pretty much destroyed them. I'm sure there were other things, but that's all I can remember right now. Thankfully, my mother was very understanding, and I'm sure she helped get everything back in order. She also did a great job repairing the couch. I don't have any pictures of the destruction but here is the couch at a later date.

(Sara was probably around 18 months here)
During Sara's first winter Steve made a makeshift sled out of a cardboard box and pulled her around in the snow. She loved it!  The hat she is wearing was made by my mother and the scarf was mine when I was a little girl.


We spent the next summer with my parents in Florida so that Steve could finish the Master's program he had started before we moved to New Hampshire.


Every day Sara looked forward to the time when my dad would get home from work. He would pick her up and they'd go on a tour of the house stopping first in the kitchen to show her what Grandma was making for supper and sometimes even give her a taste. One of her favorites was putting on Grandpa's large headphones and listening to some music. The tour with Grandpa was the highlight of her day.


Then Fall came and school started again. I was asked by my friend, Sandy, to take care of her twin girls two days a week while she taught physical education at a local school. Sandy and her husband, George, were the ones who picked up my mom at the airport on the day of Sara's birth. We did a lot of things with them, one of which was to visit our favorite restaurant. It was called Parker's Maple Barn and was where I first tasted real maple syrup and blueberry pancakes made with whole wheat flour.

(1977 at Parker's Maple Barn)
The twins were three months younger than Sara, so during that time I got a taste of having triplets! Close your eyes for a minute and imagine what it was like at lunchtime. With three high chairs lined up I gave them all bites of yogurt one right after the other letting them have some finger food, too.. Then when it was naptime, I changed them one by one on the changing table and put them all to bed.


Things went surprisingly well most of the time, although sometimes I think Sara was a little jealous. I became pregnant with my second child during that time, and with my first few weeks of queasiness it was really hard when all three babies had messy diapers. Oh, the smell... I was privileged to have some older ladies who took an interest in me which really helped since my mother did not live near. I would sometimes invite one of them over for the day, and they offered to change the diapers. I was blessed to have such loving friends.

During the spring when the weather warmed up Sara and I took lots of walks in our little neighborhood. Our dog would always run ahead of us, come back to check on us, then take off again. On Easter Sunday, we took a walk when we got home from church. As we walked, Sara kept exclaiming what sounded to me like, "Peewow! Peewow!"  When we got back home, she leaned over and picked up a flower and said it again while looking at the flower. That's when I realized she was saying, "Pretty flower. Pretty flower."


Come back next week as I reminisce about leaving New Hampshire, moving back to Florida and welcoming our second child into the world.

The rest of my #31Days of Love, Faith, and Creativity can be found HERE.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Grace For Every Need

Our God is great and wonderful. May we all remember that He is also full of grace and mercy and will hear us when we call.


We can come boldly before God because of what Christ did for us on Calvary. I pray that God will bless you today as you take time to reflect on His word and worship Him.

Linking up with Lisha Epperson for #GiveMeGrace.


You can find the other posts in my 31 Days of Love, Faith and Creativity HERE.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Relaxation and Art Journaling



When I woke up this morning I decided that I was just going to take it easy today after having a busy week of family visiting including lots of grandchildren. For starters I took my time getting out of bed, getting dressed, and fixing breakfast. Looking out the window I saw that it was another sunny but cool October morning and the outdoors was calling me. I went out on the porch with my coffee and then decided to take some pictures of the beautiful sky. 





During that time I was also wondering what to write about for this 18th day of my 31 Days of Love, Faith, and Creativity theme. I began to pray, thinking about all the things I have done this week like taking part in an Authenticity Challenge that Marvia Davidson is hosting and also Brenna D’Ambrosio's Advent Journey called In the Edges of the Day , taking walks with grandchildren, seeing their excitement about all the nature treasures they collected, playing games late at night after the grandchildren went to bed, and art journaling with my daughter and granddaughter. I decided that today might be a good day to focus on creativity.


Right after that I came to my computer, and the first thing I saw was a link to 31 Days of Art Journaling shared by my friend, Lisha Epperson. The minute I saw it I checked it out and found a wealth of new ideas to try in my art journal. I was excited to say the least and wanted to get started right away. I started with one that I thought would be easy and fun and that was the one called Glue Crackle. Basically you take a journal page that has been prepared with gesso and dried. Then you spread white glue on the page and right away brush on some acrylic paint and then blow dry it. Watch the crackles appear!




My next experiment was String Painting. I put paint on a piece of twine and laid it on a prepared journal page. Then I closed the journal and moved it back and forth across the page. I repeated several times with different colors, then used spray paint and a couple of stencils to see what would happened. I think I ended up with sort of a mess. Not sure what I will do with these pages. At least I had fun in the process.




During this past week my daughter showed me how to use different things to create a mixed media art page. This is one of the results of the time we spent together.





If you have never tried art journaling I'd like to encourage you to look into it. I just discovered it about a year ago and have really enjoyed trying different things and learning. It's a great stress reducer and also fun! If you do try it out, I'd love to hear about it and find out how you liked it.


You can find the other posts of my 31 Days of Love, Faith and Creativity HERE.


Friday, October 17, 2014

What Do I Long For?


I long for the day
when all wrongs are made right
when all peoples live in harmony
when all live for truth
when all worship God

I long for grace and strength
when days are long
when courage fails
when exhaustion threatens
when things overwhelm

I long for peace
when chaos abounds
when love is missing
when people are hurt
when things are hard

I long for these things
but will not despair
I know I can trust
my Father above
He meets my needs
through His steadfast love.

(Such a beautiful, clear day)
Once again I am linking up with Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday. The prompt for today is the word "long." (I must admit that my five minutes was interrupted so I wrote part of it, stopped, then finished a few minutes later.)

Find the other posts of my #31Days of  Love, Faith and Creativity HERE.