Monday Blessings

I can not begin to believe how blessed I am.  Today is one of those perfect days.  Sun shining, birds singing and joy in my heart.

It has started out with my husband on the upside of being ill.  He is not well yet but he is headed that direction and for that I am grateful.  Next my darling daughter and Other Mom arrived to share "coffee" time and breakfast with us.  After a fun round of cards and a lil visit from the young women from the Jehovah Witness church, we dashed to the store for some medication.

Tons of bargains there where we saved as much as we spent and restocked some of our pantry.  Popped out to deliver a hug and purchase to my father-in-law and returned home to a sweet friend delivering goodies to us from her home.  It included some beautiful rugs for my floors, a carousal horse for the front yard and new bedding for our sleeping quarters.  There was also a sweet bottle of lotion in my mail box from our darling mail lady as well as a note of thanks from a women in our church.  Can you count all the blessings?

Now I am sitting on the front porch, soaking up sunshine and having a bite of lunch with my Dear Hubby.  We are having the poor man's equivalent of pate', cheese and crackers.  I know that tonight we are to have dinner with our missionaries and that is always heart lifting.  Add in loving pets to share our day with and it could not be a better blessing.

You know what?  Life is grand!

Lost A Part of My Heart

Well I can now sit quietly and think without tears streaming down my face.  It has been quite hard to keep myself from showing grief and staying strong this last week.  You see Dear Hubby has lost his mother to deaths door.  Yes, we knew it was coming as she has been very ill for some time.  But that does not soften the blow only prepares you to know the blow is coming.

Mostly I have tried ever so hard to stay calm, not show emotion and to keep strong so that my sweetheart and children could let go as needed.  It was a fitting tribute to my mother in law to see the long line of teens and young adults that shook our hands after the burial.  You see she was the teacher for the youth at the local catholic church for over 20 years.  She has made a major impact on the lives of the teens in this community.

I could tell you all her good and bad qualities as anyone else could too, but instead I wish to share what she shared with me.  She gave me the most loving husband ever.  He tells me he tries ever so hard to pattern his attention to me like his father has always done to his mother.  That is a blessing alone.  His mother teased me that I married her son and now had to keep him, he was not allowed to come back home.  And after a rocky start in our relationship as in-laws to each other, we grew to a fast bond of love for the men in our lives.  She also gave me unconditional love.  Always letting me know that she thought I was a very efficient wife.  It has been hard letting her go.  I know she is no longer hurting and that alone is a blessing.

Hug your moms, dads, in-laws and loved ones today.  Know they are your blessings.    

Solemn Sunday

English: The perform in the during General Con...
General Conference with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It has been a very trying and tiring week.  From extended hospital stays and short quick hospital surgeries for our parents, to schedules turned upside down and work being put on hold.  It is also General Conference for us in the LDS church.  A time that we are renewed with talks from the leaders in our church.  I was looking so forward to the renewal of spirit from this.  Sadly with the state of my mom-in-law's impending demise, my focus is not able to stay with the spirit well.

My Dear Hubby has been at her bedside for two weeks now and is utterly exhausted.  He returned home this morning for a bath and a nap.  My idea of a nap for him will be let his sleep til his body returns on its own.  He is not in agreement with me but also understands that I will turn off any alarms so no use in even trying.  It is for the best for him to rest no matter of the situation.  He is at his ropes end as well as myself.

So now to help me refocus on positive thoughts?  I am getting my home back into an order I can function with.  It amazes me that one person staying here this summer put me in such a horrid funk that I was doing all I could to stay away from my home.  This was one of the times that helping someone else so backfired.  But I have managed to rearrange the house once again and claim the space anew.  Once again I am making this into a one bedroom house with personal space at the focus for us.  Honestly for a supposed three bedroom, two bath home, it truly feels like a very small house to me.

Here is the current layout.  With the furniture layout.  And also a copy of just the rooms listed.  See what I mean as it just seems to be a one bedroom house.  Yeah, I know that the kitchen is the whole focus of the house with the dining room in front.  But that is where I seem to find my most enjoyment so I just stole half the house for that.  We watch very little of movies and removed any conventional TV so the den became the smallest area.  And it seems that I need a place for nothing but dressing area and office.  Yes, for those who are observant there are two beds in the bedroom.  I have a twin size low bed for just my dogs to sleep on.  When you have big dogs they also need their space.

Well as I have sat here typing, Dear Hubby has drifted off.  It seems he if finally getting some much needed rest.  Sweet dreams my dear man.  May your Mother also be lifted up now to our Heavenly Father as she too rest.

Is It Tuesday Yet?

Good morning all.  I would say a bright and beautiful morning but it is still dark out.  So instead I will be looking forward to the dawn.

This is how most of the house looked like.
How can it only be Tuesday and I be so exhausted?  Well yes, ten hours of non stop cleaning yesterday could be part of it.  Seriously!  I cleaned a 3 story Victoria home yesterday and never took a single break.  It was a beauty to be in though.  5 bedroom, 3 bath, 7 fireplaces, 3 living rooms, an office, dining room, kitchen and two pantries (yes one was a butler's pantry!)  

This is sorta what the staircase looked like.
There is even an attic playroom set up that made me want to hid in so I could sit and write stories.  What took so long was that I made sure to clean all the walls with murphy's oil soap.  They were beautiful detailed wood work up to the ceiling.  As well as the grand staircase with it's deep curve and beautiful railing.  Of course a home like this is solid wood floors throughout so it also was cleaned the same way.  It did help that I purchased a sponge mop so I could get all the way up the walls without having to go up and down ladders all day long.

Now today will be a half day of house cleaning then off to the mini big city (Abilene) this afternoon.  My mother in law has been in the hospital with heart problems for over a week now.  And my own mom, Granny M, is going in for heart surgery on Wednesday.  We are joking on how they need to put them in a double room so it can be easier on us to care for them.   I pray they both are home soon and able to make a full recovery.

Y'all have a great Tuesday.  Oh and remember today is  National Coffee Day!  Enjoy!! 

Nobody Here But Us Chickens

Well it has been a while since I have been able to sit down here and write.  Part of me wants to go on and on about how busy I have been.  The other part of me wants to just sit here and bask in the glow of the computer, knowing I am finally able to be back on my blog.

How about I just throw up some random photos from this summer and give you a lil catch up?

We were so thrilled to be able to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir live in Salt Lake City.  What amazing music they produce.  There is a show broadcast live every Sunday morning called Music and The Word.  You can see it as they tape it, free.  Just show up and enjoy.

Here we are, my Dear Hubby by my side.  I love he deeply and am so thankful to have him.  This summer has been a new learning lesson for him.  He was released from work at the beginning of summer.  Now he is learning just how busy it is to be 'retired'.  I laughed when he said he never knew he was going to be this busy.

When we were in Salt Lake City we also was able to see the Temple there.  I love how beautiful it is with the reflecting pool in front.  I could sit here for hours and just gaze upon the sights.

It was also amazing sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon.  The splendor of watching the sun rise and the colors wake up was to die for.

And I was feeling sassy when we was able to see one of the Bridges of Madison County.  A beautiful reflection of history as well as a tearing at the heart of a woman's love story.  Yes, inside, we all have our secrets.

Bitter Bronx-Giveaway

Well here I am once again.  Happier than you can believe!  Why?  

Because I have had the pleasure of having my favorite author indulge me in his newest short stories.  Yes, Jerome Charyn has once again graced me with that gravelly voice that he writes with so well.  I hear the noise of kids yelling as they play while moms shout down their matriarchal blessings in the form of dire warnings.  You can see Bitter Bronx as it is laid out line by line just like the Grand Concourse cutting across from Yankee Stadium to Kingbridge Heights.  

It is great to be able to hear these stories as if Sam Spade's illegitimate third cousin had decided that law does not pay as well as crime does.  Not that the characters set out to live a life on the edge, it is just that the edge is so close to the center in the Bronx.  Pull up a seat here with me and fall in to a world where you hear a smokey voice purr or see an off set nose set the tone of one's face, just like watching a black and white movie.  Pure classic work! 

Brooklyn is dead. Long live the Bronx! In Bitter Bronx, Jerome Charyn returns to his roots and leads the literary renaissance of an oft-overlooked borough in this surprising new collection.

In Bitter Bronx, one of our most gifted and original novelists depicts a world before and after modern urban renewal destroyed the gritty sanctity of a land made famous by Ruth, Gehrig, and Joltin' Joe.

Bitter Bronx is suffused with the texture and nostalgia of a lost time and place, combining a keen eye for detail with Jerome Charyn's lived experience. These stories are informed by a childhood growing up near that middle-class mecca, the Grand Concourse; falling in love with three voluptuous librarians at a public library in the Lower Depths of the South Bronx; and eating at Mafia-owned restaurants along Arthur Avenue's restaurant row, amid a "land of deprivation…where fathers trundled home…with a monumental sadness on their shoulders."

In "Lorelei," a lonely hearts grifter returns home and finds his childhood sweetheart still living in the same apartment house on the Concourse; in "Archy and Mehitabel" a high school romance blossoms around a newspaper comic strip; in "Major Leaguer" a former New York Yankee confronts both a gang of drug dealers and the wreckage that Robert Moses wrought in his old neighborhood; and in three interconnected stories—"Silk & Silk," "Little Sister," and "Marla"—Marla Silk, a successful Manhattan attorney, discovers her father's past in the Bronx and a mysterious younger sister who was hidden from her, kept in a fancy rest home near the Botanical Garden. In these stories and others, the past and present tumble together in Charyn's singular and distinctly "New York prose, street-smart, sly, and full of lurches" (John Leonard, New York Times).

Throughout it all looms the "master builder" Robert Moses, a man who believed he could "save" the Bronx by building a highway through it, dynamiting whole neighborhoods in the process. Bitter Bronx stands as both a fictional eulogy for the people and places paved over by Moses' expressway and an affirmation of Charyn's "brilliant imagination" (Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune).

Jerome Charyn's stories have appeared in The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The American Scholar, Epoch, Narrative, Ellery Queen, and other magazines. His most recent novel is I Am Abraham. He lived for many years in Paris and currently resides in Manhattan.

You can find Bitter Bronx on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble for just $12.59 ebook or $24.95 hardcover

Thanks so to both Jerome Charyn and to Tribute Books for hosting this giveaway of $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.  You can enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

Energy To Kill

Well since I am having the joy of pet/house sitting, it means time to relax and read.  Thus I have found another sentence that was just perfect for me.  Honestly would love to be known for having this kind of energy.  In Susan Wiggs book "The Beekeeper's Ball" on page 45 it says,

"She had the kind of energy that made caffeine jumpy."

Yeppers, that is what I want to be known as.  You see if your around me any amount of time then you would know I do not sit still well.  I am up and down all the time.  That is why I gave up TV.  I could not sit through a show.  Each commercial I would be up and doing something.  My BFF today said how tired she was after our morning outing of garage sales and lunch.  I looked at her and asked her how could she be tired.  I was really baffled!  She said that she was tired from the whole morning outing.  Unlike me, I was energized.

It seems that the more I do the more energy I feel.  Like it recharges me.  Being still is exhausting to me.  So when I do have the times where I start to get "nappy", I jump up and find some chore to do.  Wakes me right up.  It seems I am always up for a walk, event, task, helping hand.  Just holler at me and most likely I would be thrilled to help out.

Now to have a sign made for me with the above slogan!


Have you heard of the phrase "Choose The Right"?  Well it is something that I am hearing every week when I am helping teach my small primary class at church.  "Choose the right" is a saying among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) that is taught to children and used by members of the church as a reminder to act righteously. The phrase is taken from an LDS hymn which has that title.  Personally my favorite line in the hymn is, "Let wisdom mark the way before.
In its light, choose the right!" 

I truly like that this is a way to help children know we all make our own path by our choices.  We all need to keep this in mind.  Weather it be the simple choice of putting a smile on our face to start the day or deeper in following the right course of action during the day.  The choice is always ours.  Some things are easy to discern on what to do.  But there are other issues that are harder to make a choice.  So much that weighs and influences our decisions.  Most often we are swayed by what others will think or believe.  When we should be looking inward and choosing to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.  Weighing the choices by our beliefs and morals.  

Also, I like that this helps children to learn that in the choices we make, we grow.  It is this growth that helps form us into productive adults.  And that is the goal of all parents is to help their children grow up into loving families that will help guide the steps of the next generation.  

Insight That Helps Me

Every now and then you come across something that just hits home., that word perfect event or explanation.  I found one of those today while reading Michael Palmer's "The Last Surgeon".  On page 344 it reads.

"Here's the thing with PTSD," he said.  "Some people think it's in your head and that you can just snap your fingers  or crank up your willpower and come out of it, or like MacCandliss keeps insisting, that it's all manufactured for some secondary gain.  But that's not the case at all.  It's a chemical change where the thinking takes place, like an internal depression, or a cancer eating away at you.  Much as you want to just shake the symptoms off, sometimes they won't let go.  So you end up walking around in circles, holding yourself hostage to the places and people where you feel most comfortable and safe, because the alternative means facing an unknown."

English: signs and symptoms ptsd
English: signs and symptoms ptsd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a great description of how it feels to have to deal with the chemical imbalance that happens to us when we have had to go through great trials.  PTSD can be caused by many events.  We are often told to "man up" or "let it go".  It is not that simple.  You can not just change the way your body reacts to things.  It is like being told to not breath.  Impossible!  This is the same thing with being bi-polar, having chronic depression or even dealing with schizophrenia.  Medications can help you be leveled out better but they do not take it all away.  Counseling also can give you tools to be able to cope better.  But in my personal experience, nothing makes it just become all better.

I do know that there are things we can control that does help.  If we have a good diet to help our bodies be able to function at it's best capacity.  Enjoying the sunshine and daily exercise also will raise your serotonin levels naturally.  As well as actually choosing happiness in your life.  Yes, we can choose to see the positive and good in life.  This again will not make you "all better" but it will help the ability to cope against the imbalances.  So using a combination of medication, coping skills, diet, exercise and free will are amazing tools that we can control.

Life often hands us a raw deal.  I do not think it is God's will for us but instead the adversary that works so hard to break us.  There are many different events that can be a breaking point and it is different for each of us.  But if we try hard to be as strong as possible, lean on the care and love of others and take the time to gain our center back, then it is possible to win out over these events.  Find it in your life what works best.  For myself it is daily prayer, reading the scriptures and then having a quiet moment to reflect on the amazing love and life I have.  Looking at the small things that make life the best gift of all.

Hearts & Bunnies

When do you say your old?  And at what point do you stop being young?  Just where is middle age?

If you figure that part out then you have to figure out how are you suppose to act.  What actions are appropriate? When and where does it matter?

Then there are those times you say what the heck, throw up your hands and decide your just going to make yourself happy.  Weather someone tells you your too old or that your not following the "rules".  So basically I did not tell anyone what my plans were this time and just went and did what I wanted.

Yes, my feet are finally done!  These are the two tattoos I have been wanting for over 3 years.  Each has a significance to me.  They are not only on my feet but also on JD's feet, just opposite ones.  

So here is the first one.  

A simple line drawing of two sets of interconnected hearts.  This is to represent the connection of choice between my daughters and I.  There is a heart that starts on the top and then comes down to complete the heart on the bottom.  The same from side to side.  Then the four of them making one interconnecting shamrock.  Two of the hearts connected are for JD and myself as mother and daughter.  The other two are connecting my step daughters to each other (they are half sisters).  The the four joins us as a family, four strong women who are so lucky (the shamrock) to have each other.  The four of us have talked about wanting a matching tattoo that we all have.  This was the design that was the winner.  This week JD and I had it done on our feet.  Now we are waiting for when the other two girls can do theirs.  I so wish we were all together to have done it as a group!

The second one is here.

This one was specific for JD and I.  We are 24 years apart in age so on the Chinese zodiac it makes us both born in the year of the Rabbit.  So as she was growing up we called each other by the nick names of Mommy Bunny and Baby Bunny.  Of course you know my signature color is pink and hers growing up was always green.  I am right handed and she is left handed so we have this tattoo on the corresponding foot.  She is just 3 weeks away from her wedding and as happy as I am for her, it feels like this is the last step away from me.  We will always be close but she is now moving on to beginning her own family.  Thus we wanted to have this tattoo done before she did.  

Okay so at 51 years old I am still acting young and to some impulsive.  But these are desires I have had for years, not a quick decision.  It is just that in a matter of the last three days, I have finally been able to fulfill them.  So what do you think?