Monday, January 9, 2017

Monday Morning Coffee

And just like that - winter break is over and I'm back in the classroom.

Why do I not feel as though I had enough time? I struggled greatly this morning with getting out of bed and into the routine of jumping into the shower, primping & prepping & packing a lunch. 

We are in our final 2 weeks of this semester, so all systems are go now. It's time to clamp down, get the work done & finish strong. For some this will not be a problem, for others - well.........let's leave it at that.

Our weekend consisted of painting. I had every intention of cleaning out and painting my office/studio space over break. The 1st week was a wash due to the holiday's and other family stuff. So I didn't get started until last week Monday. I had a plan in mind and all was going well, until Dream Boy was patching a spot on the ceiling and we realized there was more damage to it than originally thought. We had a water leak a few years ago and he cleaned it up & patched the roof at that time, but apparently the drywall didn't dry out, so he had to do a more extensive patch. This put my plan on halt for a little longer while he gathered the materials, made the fix and then waited for everything to dry. 

I started painting in the closet just to try & accomplish something. I had picked out a beautiful, soft, mellow shade of yellow late last summer. Well, when I painted the closet - only one coat - the mellow yellow was actually a full on blast of sunshine! Not that I mind the sunshine, but a bright yellow in a studio that I want to use for photography, will not work by any means. The thought of what it would do to skin tones. Oy vey!

On to Plan B - we painted the living room last year with a pallet of 3 different grays. I choose the lightest gray of the 3 and painted the closet with that. I immediately fell in love with the tone, so I spent Friday finishing the closet & painting the ceiling. I hate painting ceilings.  There may or may not have been a lot of whining going on. I also did some patching and cutting in with the primer.

Dream Boy took pity on me and Saturday he painted the whole room! It looks amazing and I am slowly working my way back into it. 

I had taken everything out and put it in our spare room and as I bring it back in, it's either being organized differently, going into a Goodwill box or a donation box to a local art studio that we have in downtown Kalamazoo for adult with special needs. I had a whole lotta "stuff" and I'm still only about halfway through the weeding process.

Last night was an early bedtime for me, the earliest I've seen in a few weeks, and here we are, back in the salt mines once again.

I hope you all have a wonderful week - thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Scene & Story - December 2016

A crisp winter morning. A dusting of snow and frost on the windows.

A trip out to take out the trash was all I intended to do. But the color and contrast and placement of this frozen leaf stopped me literally in my tracks.

How did this one, simple, lifeless leaf end up wedged into the window of our old, trusty but rusty pick up truck? 

I was mesmorized by it. I stood for a moment or two, taking in the depth of colors and the various textures in this small space. Then I came out of my trance and quickly ran in to grab my camera, in hopes that the sun didn't rise too quickly & begin to melt this glorious masterpiece.

As I move into this new year, I think of the old worn out truck and the frost on the window. I see this leaf, curled up & lifeless, stuck in the window and I can't help but think of this past year and the things that seemed so hard to face, to deal with, to understand. 

But at the same time, I see the beauty of the colors in this moment, the crispness of the leaf and the frost on the glass and I am reminded that through the good and bad in our life, their is a Creator who makes all things.

There is a season and a time for everything in our life, and I am grateful for that Creator who reminds in a simple moment such as this, that He is in control.

I am joining my friends Sarah of Paisley Rain Boots and Lee of Sea Blue Lens for Scene & Story, a monthly link-up of photographs and words meant to be shared. Make time to visit these story-tellers for inspiration and encouragement. Be sure to take some time to share words of love with the other story tellers in this link, and feel free to join in yourself!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Monday Morning Coffee

Bye Felicia.

Adieu 2016.

Good riddance, good bye, so long, farewell, let's call it a day!

Here we are, a new year. A new start, chances to make it better, and all that jazz.

I have been very restless lately, not sure why and what is to become of it, but restless nonetheless.  

I haven't blogged in forever, as I've mentioned before, I don't know what to say. But I haven't quit blogging all together.  My mind has been filling with all sorts of things and I journal regularly, but I haven't been able to find the words to put "out there".

The last few weeks, actually months, I have been feeling out of sorts and I have had so many thoughts rolling through my mind. Where do I start? How do I put these thoughts into words, what do I share, do I share, and so it goes. 

My thoughts are just that, my.thoughts. As are yours. My heart has felt this tugging because of all that has surrounded us in our world as of late.

Hate crimes. Elections. Cancer. Hollywood deaths. Jobs. Media. Minimize. Tiny Houses. 

Wow, I'm really sounding like a Debbie Downer, right?

This past year has been filled with many things that are hard to understand, that can totally bring you to a lowly state. I know that is part of my mood too. I've let them over take me, rather than rising above. 

The last week alone, watching as my daughter-in-law, her sister, her dad, her aunt and their family struggle with the loss of their mom, wife, sister and daughter. To lose your mom is ever so hard, no matter how young or old you are. 

It has hit me hard as well, watching and knowing the pain they are all feeling. Watching my DIL, who is carrying our 1st grandchild, try to make sense of this. Praying every morning, noon & night that Little G will behave and not make his appearance any sooner than possible. 

As a mom, I just want to make it all better. But I know that I can't. Instead, I can continue to pray and love and be there in whatever way and however she needs me.

As I read through various media offerings last week, I struggled with my thoughts and feelings. Mainly, the death of many Hollywood stars over the last few weeks. I am so very sorry for their familes and their loss - death is never easy, no matter who you are, but I am curious as to why we - who have never known them personally - are so distraught over their death? We've known them as a character in a movie or tv show, but we don't know them personally. So why do some take it so personally? 

The election and the upcoming inauguration. People who are so distraught over the outcome of our nations recent election, who can't seem to let it go and move forward. I struggle with how personally so many are taking it, as if they know these elected official personally and how so many have become such experts about these officials. They seem to already know what will happen and the decisions that will be made. 

I am concerned as well, about our president elect. But I know that I am not an expert, that I do not have the power or the means to predict what will happen in the next 4 years. 

I do know, however, that I have faith. Faith in what my Father God tells me and shows me in His word. I do know that our world has always been filled with war, always been filled with hatred, always been in turmoil. It is clearly written in His word. I take comfort in knowing that no matter what will happen now or in the future, I have a God who knows and a God who has made a home for me in His mansion that I will someday live in forever.

So with the start of a new year, my mind has been filled with many things. We tend to make resolutions this time of year, but why does it have to be just now? Shouldn't we be wanting to make changes, better ourselves and the world around us all the time?

I spent some time yesterday morning reading my journal, focusing mainly on January 1, 2016. Then going back to January 1, 2015. Always, always, a new year and what do I want to do with it, what changes do I want to make, where will this new year take me?

One common thing I wrote in both of those entries was to be closer to God. To follow Him and get more into His word. I cannot deny, ever, that God is the driving force in my life. That through every path I find myself on, God is there. I just may not always lean on Him. I, more often than not, will take the lead myself and then run back to Him when I realize I'm trying to take control. 
So how fitting is it that I start my 1st day of a new year in the very house of my Lord? New Year's day fell on Sunday and for me, it was the best way to start my New Year. 

I will continue to move forward with my walk with God, I will continue to fail in my walk, to take 2 steps forward and fall 1 step back, but I will not lose sight of Him and the fact that He is with me every step of the way.

I know that it always starts with Him.

Last night Dream Boy & I watched the documentary on Netflix, "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things". There is a lot of truth in what they talked about, we, as Americans, have come to believe that the more we have, the happier and richer we are. Our society pushes this over and over and over. 

As we watched this and I listened to many say that happiness isn't found in things. In fact, they felt that the less they had, the happier they were and this is what brought on their "life changing" movement of being minimalists. 

There is a lot to be said about the thought, "less is more". There is a lot of truth in those 3 words. But after watching, Dream Boy & I had a conversation and we both had the same thought - where was God in all of this? 

Less is more, no doubt. But my happiness does not come from all that is around me, all that I have or don't have, it comes from the Joy that I have within me from having a personal relationship with Christ. My happiness is based on the love of God and the joy that I have knowing Him. When I stray, my joy does not leave me, but it becomes less apparent, because I am not following Him to the fullest extent that I possibly can. But when I get back in His word, when I listen with a quiet heart and mind, when I am still, I am able to feel my joy and I am surrounded in happiness.

So I leave you with many thoughts, I'm sure. Some of you are probably questioning me, you have arguments or points to try and disprove what I feel and believe. Some of you agree whole heartedly with what I've written. But I ask you to not attack, not react, but to remember, that we all have the right to live our life as we feel is best for ourself. We all have the right to our own opinion and belief, so please remember, the thoughts and beliefs I've expressed here today are just that - my own. Please respect that as I will respect you. 

I am moving into this new year with a heart filled with many emotions. A mind that is filled with thoughts I don't even know how to express, beyond what I've written here. But I will move forward with God by my side and leading me through every valley and over every mountain.

Thank you for taking time to have coffee with me this morning. May your week be filled with many blessings and your new year filled with joy and happiness.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Tis The Season and All That Stuff.........

Here we are - the final countdown til Christmas!

Are you ready? Is your shopping done? How about the wrapping? Cookies baked? Let's not forget about the parties, have you attended - made your appearance at all the gatherings? 

Life is so very crazy this time of year and it's so easy to lose sight of life itself. Just living and breathing and making it through another day.

My shopping is almost done, just making the final little purchases this week. This is my normal, no worries - I got this!

Wrapping - ugh. I had everything wrapped that I had bought, but Dream Boy & I went on a shopping marathon on Saturday, so those are still in the bags, strewn all over my office/studio right now. My mom loved to wrap and make bows for all of our packages. She would spend hours doing this, my sister & I at her side helping. Somehow I missed this gene.......not my favorite thing to do at all.

Parties - well, we have very few to attend. We attended my work party 2 weeks ago & Dream Boy doesn't have one and myfamily will gather to celebrate on Christmas afternoon. That's the extent of our holiday gatherings.

Baking - nope! The weather prevented my #2 children from coming home this past weekend. The boys were going to a "diaper party" at #1 son's home and me & my girls were going to bake. So hopefully this Friday or Saturday, depending on when they come home for the Christmas weekend, the baking will happen!

My weekend was an emotional roller coaster. Today, I am feeling it. I was on such an emotional high and so busy with shopping and then Christmas events at church yesterday, I really didn't have time to fully absorb all that was happening.

Saturday morning Dream Boy drove me to the home of my daughter-in-law's parents. I was scheduled to take a family photo, the roads were bad from the dumping of snow we received the night before and we were going out shopping when I was done.

My DIL seized the moment and asked me to capture this photo of her & my son:
...and we captured this tender moment of her mom kissing our Little G.......
 Friday night I had received word that my cousin had received THE call from the University of Michigan hospital.  He has been waiting for a new heart for over 3 years now and THE call finally came. 

But the weather was a factor in getting the heart to him and it wasn't until I was in church Sunday morning & I happened to hear my phone (it was on silent) buzz deep inside my purse.

I did a quick check and his son had texted me a long line of dancing lady emoji's, followed by the words, "getting a (heart) later today."

I leaned over to my Dream Boy & whispered, "Ric is getting his heart TODAY!" Shortly after, we had our greeting time & I went to my pastor and shared the news.  Our church has been praying every week since Ric was put on the donor list, so at the end of service, Pastor Steve announced that I had just gotten the word that Ric was getting his heart that afternoon.

Our church erupted in cheers and applause!!  Needless to say, Dream Boy & I were brought to tears.  He kept his in check, but his mama.........well, if you know me - that wasn't possible.  In fact, the tears are flowing now again as I write this.

Later in the day while at church for our Walk through Bethlehem event for the neighborhood children this photo popped up in my facebook feed:

And so it happened!  Ric went through several hours of surgery, but is now in the ICU unit, and all is working as it should.  We continue to pray for his long road of recovery and that there is not rejection.

But through the high of this event, we also received word that Ric's step-mom, my aunt, had passed away Sunday morning.  Oh the emotional roller coaster that this family is experiencing right now ----- please be in prayer for them.

This time of year is always seen as a time of celebration, joy & family. But it's also a very hard time for many, myself included, as the loss of a loved one, depression and many other heart breaks seem to weigh on so many.  I am especially missing my mom & dad this year.  This was a time of year that they loved and took every opportunity to spoil my sisters and I and all of their grandchildren.

Today, all of this weekend's events, have hit me hard. I've come down from the top of the coaster and am feeling the high's & lows for real right now.  

I grieve for the family of the donor, who so selflessly gave of themselves so others may continue living. I grieve for my uncle and his loss, the emotions of having your oldest son in the hospital and the loss of your wife all at the same time.  I grieve for my DIL as her mom continues to fight a battle against a disease that just keeps rearing its ugly head. 

I celebrate in the joy that my DIL has now reached her 3rd trimester and that our Little G is still safely snuggled in his mama. I pray every moment of every day that he stays just another day, and then another and another, knowing each moment of every day is one more moment for him to develop and grow. I celebrate the fact that I had parents who loved me so and left such a legacy that my sisters and I continue to share with our children. I celebrate the chance at a "new life" my cousin has received. I celebrate the fact that both Dream Boy and I have jobs we love and are blessed by. I celebrate the church family we are a part of and the unconditional love they show to the community and others, evident in the cheers & applause we heard yesterday.

I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas, a joyous celebration of time to reflect and I wish you all peace.  This has been a tough year, this is a tough season for many, and my heart yearns for healing for you and for our country as we approach 2017.

Blessings to all of you my friends, may you know true Joy.