Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday Morning Coffee

I feel like we've been here before? 

Yup - it's Monday..........again!

So welcome back, how have you been?

I've been busy with this and that and the other thing. I know we haven't had coffee for a few weeks. I know it's bad when not only my Dream Boy points it out, but I now have a student pointing it out to me as well!
Let's see........where to begin?

Oh yeah, I've been back to school for 2 weeks now since our Christmas break and I found a new form of stress relief.  Well, maybe not so new, but a new formula!
I have spent over 1 1 /2 years in this book, Simply Tuesday and I am on the final pages. I have so enjoyed taking my time through this book, journaling as I go, searching deeper within myself and reminding myself that I need to sit on a bench more often and reflect and find the little things in life to remind me of just how good it really is.

I will not miss the writing style of Emily P. Freeman, however, as I have another of her books just waiting patiently for my to start.  "A Million Little Ways" - uncover the art you were made to live.  I'm looking forward to this read.

I also spent the week between Christmas & New Years cleaning out my office/studio space & Dream Boy helped me paint it.  It is now a lovely soft shade of gray and I have so much more room!  I sent a big box and several shelving units and organizing totes to Good will with my #2 DIL yesterday. I still have 2 giant boxes of crafting items to get down to MRC Industries.  It's a local studio for adults with special needs - they love to paint, knit, bead and create. Believe me, this chica has plenty of stuff for them to play with!

I have created a more open space with the hopes of possibly being able to do some photo sessions in here, probably more portrait and baby shots, but I now have the space to set up my back drop.

I have also been commissioned to do the photography for our local Concert Band. A former teacher friend, who has played in this band for years & years, contacted me and asked if I would be interested in taking the pictures for their website and new advertising information. I said - YES! I can't wait to work with them - I will be spending some quality time with them over the next month.
I have also been busy creating a blanket for my Little G.  It's actually big enough for him & mama to cuddle under together.

Yesterday, Little G's auntie, my sisters, my nieces, my other DIL and myself gave Little G and Mama a baby shower. We did one big shebang - with all of our families & friends at one shower.  It was lovely.
It was a happy celebration!

There were so many cute little outfits and blankets and hats and booties and a bath tub and gidgets and gadgets galore. It certainly has been a long time since I've been around a little one, as I wasn't sure what some of the items were for! 

All I know is that I can't wait to hold this little bundle in my arms, to smell him after his bath and to snuggle up with him. 

And now, it is time for this grammi to hit the hay - it's been a busy, busy weekend. I spent Saturday finishing the blanket and then making a mountain of mac-n-cheese and 10 pounds of potato salad.

Did I mention that we had so much yummy food at the shower and it wasn't until people started to leave that this bright one realized she had left the 10 pounds of potato salad in the refrigerator?

Ugh.  Guess what we're eating for lunch and dinner this week?

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.