Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day 2014

Today is the day we aside to honor our veterans -- past & present -- who have sacrificed for our country.  A few of my uncles have served our wonderful country in the military.

My Uncle Don served in the Navy along with his brothers in WWII ...
some of the most honorable men who served God first in everything they did. 
Men of God ... men of honor ... men of all men.  
When we were growing up, Uncle Don sure didn't want to talk about his time in the War because he did not want "upset" any of us kids.  Simply stated -- he didn't want to scare of us young children with any talk of war. 
A true man of valor.

And our son-in-law ... who gave his blood serving and protecting.
Two tours of duty overseas ... two years in between training troops ... serving for his military career.
And then the explosion that was intended by the enemy to end his life ...


On this Veteran's Day 2014 ...
we honor and remember those who have served our great country.
"Thank you" just does not seem enough for the price our freedoms have cost.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

At The End of a Long Week

At the end of a long week ...
we recognize The One who brought us through it
we praise Him for His goodness & His power
we know Who holds us in the palm of His hand
At the end of a long week ...
I am more aware of His amazing grace
I am more aware of the little things in life
I am more aware of blessings I have every moment of every day
At the end of a long week ...
he is drained from the events of the week
I am drained from the events of the week
we reflect on the events of the past week
At the end of a long week ...
my Mother had laser surgery on her "good" eye on Monday
my Daddy ended up in the emergency room early Tuesday morning {extreme vertigo}
I had a root canal on Wednesday
our cat Penelope had a routine vet check-up on Thursday
{while I rush-painted before picking her up}
Thursday ...
1:30pm the vet called & Penelope was doing great after her dental procedure
{I was planning on getting her at 4:30 after I painted}
3pm the vet called -- Penelope had died
... a mystery to the vet's office
... no reason as to "why"
... everyone is simply shocked
Friday they called and said they found Penelope's heart was enlarged 2 1/2 times the normal size.
Everyone still stunned ... first time this has happened at the vet ... everyone cries.
Saturday {this morning} Dan & I go to vet to get Penelope. Everyone still cries at the vet's office ... they simply loved Penelope ...
they give us hugs & endless "I'm sorry". 
We do love our vet's office.
So we come home and lay Penelope to rest close to her predecessors ... Midnight & Smokey were litter-mates ... Midnight lived close to 8 years and Smokey 13 years.  Penelope was our daughter's saving-grace after Smokey -- 'Joe was in his last few months of his first deployment & it was before their first wedding anniversary.
Penelope was a special cat ...
she was Lucy & Tag's first pet ... she was playful ... she was protective
and Granny & Grandad miss Penelope just as our daughter and grands miss Penelope. 
But, we believe that God takes care of His animals ...
and we know Penelope is in good Hands.
At the end of a long week ...
we thank Him for every breath
we praise Him for His goodness
we rest in Him
God is always good

Friday, October 31, 2014

... for the little warriors

It's official ~~~ TGK is an official charitable organization!!!

In case you've noticed my sidebar link to The General's Kids ...
This is our daughter's organization that gives back to our military kids serve our country alongside of their wounded parent.  Our own little warriors -- Lucy at age 3 and Tag at 11 days old -- had their lives turned upside in a split second from "the phone call" that their Daddy had been wounded in an explosion overseas.  Tag will never remember anything from that traumatic time, but sweet Lucy remembers everything.
 Some people say that she will forget certain things, but such a trauma to a young child's life leaves an everlasting mark ...
I know because I experienced such a trauma as well at about age 4 {I will fill in details in another post}. 
To this day, Lucy will say things like
"Nanny, do you remember Miss ___ from that time Daddy was at Walter Reed?"
"____ has 4 prosthetics because he was in an explosion too."
{Yes, at the tender age of 3 Lucy could explain how prosthetics work & help those who have no arms or legs function.}
Some "little warriors" live at military hospitals - medical centers - for the duration of their hero's treatment/recovery/rehabilitation period.  The General's Kids wants to help give our little heroes an encouragement and support system to let them know that THEY are our heroes too. They serve our country alongside their wounded hero and their whole family.
they sacrifice and they are dedicated ...
they serve and they are patriotic ...
they love our country and they support our American Flag ...

These little warriors are our nation's heroes.
Here's a little introductory excerpt from The General's Kids website ...

About Us
The General's Kids, L.L.C. was designed for our nation's little warriors. Whether they are infants or teenagers, facing the life-changing injury or illness of a parent leaves a lasting impression. There are so many wonderful organizations out there that benefit wounded warriors and their families, and children often benefit from these. But at The General's Kids we are proud to focus 100% on the children and young siblings of the wounded, ill, and injured. We can help connect children and teenagers of various ages with others across the country who are going through similar struggles, provide sponsors who will send encouraging cards or care packages, and will soon be able to offer financial assistance for things like special interests or school funding. Children living the Wounded Warrior life are faced with a harsh sense of reality. We intend to help bring back some of the things that help comfort and lighten these kids' hearts. Our goals are big and extend all the way up to wanting to fund Disney vacations and college scholarships. Our belief is that whether there are 10,000 wounded warrior kids or just one, each and every one is a priority and deserves to have their sacrifice for our freedom acknowledged. Learn more about how you can help...
So ...
this is basically "who we are" at The General's Kids.
We hope you visit our website ... and please remember our little warriors in your prayers.
Lucy & Tag are just 2 little warriors out of so many others. Our family is dedicated to helping other little warriors adjust to their wounded warrior life ... because we have been there and are still traveling this journey.  And this journey will continue throughout the lives of our own little warriors.  I'm sure it's Mrs. 'Joes desire as it is ours ... that our future generations will continue the work of The General's Kids to ensure that all little warriors know how important they are and how much they are cared for.
And to know that someone has walked their path before them.

May God bless you & your family
may God bless our wounded warrior families
and may God bless our little warriors

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Being Anxious {for nothing}

Philippians 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication,
with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 
{yes, I know the next 3 verses go along with this one but I will post on those later}

I've been focused on this verse for the past several days -- okay, probably more like weeks
It appears that Granny has been a little anxious over the past several weeks ...
from cleaning out closets, garage, cabinets ... to projects that are in need at our house ...
to schedules of 2 households with 'Joe's appointments and helping with the little ones when I can ...
and the list goes on. 

Continuing our driveway rock-wall project

The other day I told Dan that since I have a few days a week, I feel like I have to get our long list of chores & projects completed within a short time.  Feeling anxious --- overwhelmed --- ready to be done with the projects which lie in front of us.  So, as I primed our bedroom walls today, I started thinking about being
"anxious for nothing" ...
absolutely nothing ... not one thing at all ...

not the tasks that lie ahead
not the regrets of the past
not even the here & now

Like many others, Dan & I have goals and plans for the near future as well as the distant.  We know some things we would like to accomplish over the next year -- and we have a few things we would like to see come about in the next 10 years.  And yet --- before time even began --- 
God breathed the words "be anxious for nothing" ...

1st room for repainting -- our bedroom

It's good to set goals.
It's good to plan for the future.

It's imperative to turn our agendas over to God ...
to align our hearts' desires with our very own Creator ...
to pray His will to become our will.

The next few weeks are going to be very busy for our family ...
and each little step of progress we make will be prayed over &
given to The One who knows His plans for us.

And this Granny will continue to learn to

be anxious for nothing


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Non-Posting Blogger

So we're settling into our household routine with our kids being a couple of hours away.  Lucy stays with us a couple of nights so that she can continue her activities at church and dance.  So Tuesday mornings she & I head back to meet her Momma & brother so that she can go home with her family. 
And on the drive back ...
Granny writes blog posts
I write at least a couple of them while focusing on the traffic around me --
I can come up with clever titles & formats
I can insert pictures & captions
I can write some tear-jerkers & some comedy
and when I sit down at my laptop ...
absolutely nothing
... every line is lost
... every picture has disappeared
 ... everything simply gone
So, this Granny is seeking some input ---
if there's any readers out there in my little cyber-corner
of the vast world wide web ...
How do YOU write your posts?
What prompts you to write what you do & when you do it?
What motivates you?
How do you put aside all the tasks that lie in front of you?
I know, I know ...
I am probably coming across (at least, kind of) whiny and moody and self-pitying.
But I'm really trying NOT to sound that way. I'm just wanting to learn from some of my "posting blogger" friends. 
Let's face it --
every single one of us has "life" going on right now in our lives (makes sense?). 
Some of us are transitioning ... some have already transitioned.
Some of us have full-time outside-of-our-home- jobs ... some of us have already retired.
Some of us are searching for our niche ... some of us know exactly where our niche is.
Maybe once  When life settles down  After ...
Well, this Granny should just hit the "publish" button and mark it down that I actually posted to my blog today!
Until the next time ...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Granny -- Neil Diamond -- E.T. ::::: What A Combination :::::

Once again it's been a little while since I've posted on my blog.  We've had so much going on in our household and still transitioning from one household to two --- along with visits in between, birthdays & parties (more to come later on this), and Granny working on my time management skills (not going so well with it either).  So, let me just jump full-force into this post without leaving you wondering "too much" if I have totally flipped out with these references.
Yesterday I took Lucy back to meet her Mommy & brother so that she could go back home with them.  We'd had a fun-filled weekend with her 6th birthday party and Tag's "half" birthday (either late 2nd or early 3rd -- whichever you prefer to call it).  So, as with most Tuesdays, I was scrambling around to get Lucy some breakfast & the "normal" morning routine ... as well as loading my car with stuff to send to everyone to
(try to) help out a little this week.  On my way back home (alone) I really needed to stop somewhere to get a couple of things for Dan & myself.  As I looked in the mirror, I decided that I should never be "caught" going out in public close to our home just in case I ran into somebody I knew .... makeup a mess, hair pulled back in ponytail, tshirt, old jeans, workout shoes ....
and "those lines" under my eyes just popped right out at me.
Oh well ... so I stopped at an "out of our area" Target.  It was simply one of those days, so I started looking at CDs --- and ran across
The Essential Neil Diamond .... can't go wrong with this one! So, back in my car I cranked the volume a tad louder than usual (but realizing the busy-ness of the road I was traveling as well).  The 2nd disc played pretty much until I reached home -- but it was song #17 that probably "spoke" the loudest to me -- Heartlight
I've always been a Neil Diamond fan ... but really & truly NOT an E.T. fan.  Matter of fact, I couldn't believe that he would even agree to sing such a song when the movie came out years ago.  However, I realized yesterday that listening to Neil Diamond as a teenager is so much a contrast than listening to Neil Diamond now ... as a 50 year old. 
***So, here's the main thing that this 50 year old "gets" from listening to
Neil Diamond's Heartlight ...***
As life "happens" between our childhood and adulthood sometimes we lose sight of our goals and our dreams that we had a children. We all have more responsibilities as adults and that's the "normal" progression through our years -- family, work, friends, community, church ... but that doesn't mean that we stop dreaming and setting goals for ourselves.  When the house is quieter than normal and not as busy, it's the dreams that Dan & I hold on to not only for our kids & grands ...
but possibly more important are the dreams & goals for ourselves.  
Life still gets hectic and busy and chaotic for us although we call ourselves "semi-empty-nesters" ... as we focus on our next many wonderful years that God gives us together.  I admit that this is a complicated concept for me ... I'm still learning how to manage my time here at home.  When Lucy's here with me it's more simple -- we do her online schooling, dance class, then back to her house a couple hours away. 
But when it's just me ... well, time management is definitely NOT my gift. 
So, I'm taking Heartlight to heart ... there's goals I have for me personally as well as goals for Dan & me regarding downsizing our house -- so, I have a lot in front of me for the next few months.  And mixed in with these are time to explore "me" -- my interests, things I do well,
things I need to do better (time management is definitely on this list).
And to just simply realize that
*** it's perfectly okay for a 50 year old to take time to dream those rides across the moon that
turns her heartlight on for herself and those around her ***
PS -- if you didn't take a few minutes to watch the You-tube video of Heartlight,
I highly recommend you spare about 4 minutes or so watching ...
maybe E.T. will turn on your heartlight as he did mine.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Friendships Through The Seasons

Yesterday in church was a sweet day.  Lucy and a couple of her friends had "graduated" to the next level of children's ministry.  Granted, Lucy still has some anxiety over being in a class with some older kids but the class is well divided & I got to hang out with some awesome Kindergarteners & 1st graders. And Lucy & I both learned from the lesson, had a great time worshiping through songs
and met some new friends!

Okay -- so to the "sweet" part ... during prayer request time, Lucy spoke up and asked prayer for one of her best friends from preschool -- a little girl she hasn't seen for over a year.  Her friend started Kindergarten a year before Lucy did.  But Lucy remembered her friend had been very sick and wanted everyone to pray for her. (Lucy's Mommy is sharing this with the little girl's parents as well.)

At this point several aspects of life went through my head:
*how I seriously want to have the heart of a child when I grow up
*how I truly want the heart of my granddaughter who cares so much for the feelings of her friends
*what kind of "friend" am I to others
Since one day I hope Lucy & Tag will read the thoughts & words of their Granny through this blog, here's a little of what I have experienced through having "best friends" at different stages of my life.

My cousins were my first "best friends". We all lived around our Granny and quite a few of us were within just a few years apart.  We were always at someone's house playing dolls, spies, tag, made up games ... we were always with each other ... sharing toys, clothes, "secrets".  And to this day, we all still talk about our childhood days at Granny's and what a special childhood we all had there.  We were never "bored" and we would spend the night at each other's houses although we may have spent the whole day playing together. We shared a bond that has continued throughout our adulthood. 

I also had a best friend in high school.  Sometimes I would spend the night at her house and catch the bus with her to school the following day. She was the only friend my parents would allow me to sleepover with on a school night. I dearly loved her parents ... they treated me just like I was a part of their family. She & I would do different things together -- roller skate (she took lessons with me although she was the one who actually knew how to skate), we were in band together, we talked and talked about teenage girl stuff.  She was truly a wonderful friend. And, the best part -- not only did we reconnect a couple of years ago through Facebook but we've caught up with each other over dinner one evening when she & her family were close in town. (Wish I had taken a picture but we were so busy catching up!)  We may live several hours away, but I am truly thankful for our reconnection.

Then I started working during the 2nd semester of my senior year in high school. I was cashier at a grocery store "in the city" about 25 miles from my house. I would leave school at lunch every day then go to work. I became close friends with a girl I worked with and stayed close to her for the next couple of years during college. We would meet up before or after classes/work ... I spent time at her house ... she, her brother, her parents & her Aunt became a special part of my college years. I have also reconnected with her over Facebook as well.

I've had two other pretty close friendships in my life that I could say that I could truly "be myself".  Both were ladies I worked with many years ago -- one in the commercial development company we both worked at and one was a teacher that I had substituted for while she was on maternity leave. These 2 ladies have known "me" in my adult-age.  I've reconnected with my office colleague/best friend.  Although we live in different states it's always good to "see" her and her family.

Throughout the passing years,  I've often wondered about other friends that I've lost touch with from years past.  I'll be the first to admit that friendships evolve and grow through our various seasons of life. And in those seasons are an array of circumstances ---
joy to sorrow
encouraging to challenging
words spoken to words unspoken
But I believe there is one common theme that runs through each of these ...
and that is simply

It is through prayer that we hear God's direction in our friendships ...
we know the time to rejoice and the time to weep
we know the time to encourage and the time to challenge
we know the time to speak and the time to listen

My family faced crises when I was younger ... and I was so very thankful for my best friend and her parents. They were always there for me for anything I needed.  They simply were there for me.
I believe that sometimes friendships go through times of testing. When a friend is going through a crisis, what do we do? 
offer advice ...
tell them how to "fix it" ...
say "well, if you hadn't of done blah-blah-blah"...

It gets back to hearing God's direction. Sometimes we all need to hear challenges ...
but sometimes we simply just need a friend
to pray
to listen
to encourage

I will admit that I am probably NOT the greatest expert on friendships.  When there's a bit of life going on under one roof of 3 generations, sometimes friendships take the back seat.  Sometimes our "seasons" may last for a different duration than someone else's season.  The thing is this ... although we may walk alongside our friends, we cannot actually "live" their seasons for them.
Each of our circumstances is as unique as we are unique individuals. 

God has His plan ...
God has His timing ...
our friendships need to be focused on "His" -- not "ours"

So, if you know of a friend who is facing a challenge, I believe the very first action that needs to be done is simply prayer.  And through this prayer, ask God for HIS guidance on how to be a blessing to that person.  I haven't always taken the time for this step ... but I truly believe that once that step is completed, God will direct the steps that follow.

I pray that my grandchildren will always be blessed in their friendships
and through their prayers. 
And I pray that each of us will have the tender hearts toward our friends
just as Lucy has modeled for me.