Monday, September 30, 2013

Amazing Autumn Days...

Ah mom... do you have to come to bed??
Monday morning sure found a way to creep in fast... It was a great weekend, with lots of quality time with hubby.  Hard to face today... I was gone for most of last week so I know that there will be a small mountain of  "to do" work on my desk. I am not looking forward to that.  It just seems a shame for such an amazing weekend to be over.

Last night as I went to bed, I was greeted by my sweet little old guy all curled up on Momma's side of the bed using my shirt for a pillow and covered in the quilt.  The look on his sweet little face pretty much summed up the weekend for me.  It looked like he was saying it can't be over yet.

The hubby and I went to StrangeFolk again yesterday.... The sunshine and soft breeze were beckoning us  to spend the day outside.  Soaking up the atmosphere, music and enjoying the people.  The fall leaves were changing all around us as we sat at the park bench enjoying the yummy Greek food, hubby managing to become good friends with everyone around us.  We were enjoying the pets and kids, the music was a bit questionable yesterday - but they were trying and it was free...


Our main reason for being there... I have a fiber addiction and it needed to be fed! I checked out a couple of booths that I had noticed on Saturday, but I knew where I was headed... How could I not?  I have developed a passion for roving from Yarn Geek Fibers.  The colors are always so tempting, the texture is soft and beautiful and honestly... it's just perfect! Mr. & Mrs. Yarn Geek do not overcharge, they are friendly and helpful.  They both know so much about their fibers and spinning that it is a complete pleasure to visit with them while I shop.

I am considering teaching a Drop Spindle class later this year at work.  If I do, I will definitely be calling them and ordering spindles and fiber for each person in the class. I didn't end up buying anything else from the rest of the festival, but I have several pairs of future socks and a few beautiful hats in the bag of treasures I brought home from Yarn Geek Fibers!
Sunshine, Hefeweise on Tap, Fiber and Hubby!!  A perfect day!!
After we wandered around and made sure there was nothing we'd missed from the day before we headed out to take care of the rest of our to do list.  Few groceries, printer fabric for quilts, and why not a quick stop at Savers.  You just never know what you are going to find there.

I have to say that is absolutely the most amazing store.  I simply love it! A few weeks ago we had found hubby a wonderful leather jacket for the motorcycle.  I was jealous as all get out... Not that he didn't deserve one, but because the cheapness in me wanted to find a deal like that for me.  I simply could not bring myself to want to spend hundreds of dollars on one for me.  So I didn't... I found a couple I liked that were on clearance and i was waiting for them to get down to a price I could live with, but not feeling too optimistic about it.  Yesterday the angels of thrift decided to give me a hand... we walked into Savers, glanced at a couple of things and then I headed over to check out their leather section.  Go figure a thrift store with a leather department.

They had a pretty good amount but none that would fit me, either too large or too small... and then I saw it... It isn't a "motorcycle" leather, but it is definitely leather.  I don't need a true biker jacket, I sit behind the solid wall of hubby.  Zippers are not going to be an issue for me.  Not only did it fit perfectly, is genuine leather, and warm... it was only, wait for it... $9.99.  I LOVE THAT STORE!!  For a whopping $16.34, I took home a nice leather jacket, enough yarn for two more hats and another head to display them on.

The day wrapped up with a couple of crispy cold German beers, the bright blue of an Autumn sky, a few more hats made, and another Thirty-one party with my cousins.  I guess you can't really complain that a weekend as wonderful and relaxing as that is ending.

I hate that I missed the wedding in Arkansas, and seeing all the family.  I would have enjoyed that.  But work is not prepared to wait this time...

Special coffee is waiting to be enjoyed with hubby... a couple more hats before work... I think it will be a good day!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Celebrating the Free Spirit!

It's a beautiful autumn morning, the air is cool, it is damp from the over night rain that we needed so badly and it's peaceful.  My coffee is hot and it's so quiet I can hear the clock ticking and my favorite cat sitting at my shoulder purring.

These are my kind of mornings.  Where a whole day of "gotta do" is spread out before you, but you can steal those quiet minutes and reflect and refocus before it starts. If everything wasn't wet from the rain I would have sweet talked the hubby into making us a small fire to start the day.  Sadly, it's all wet!  Besides he is down in his man cave catching up on his man-soap, seriously unwinding... he needs that.

It's that kind of weekend.  You know the kind, where you unwind and get rid of stress.  At least bad stress.  I've been mostly sitting and stitching, feeling wholly unprepared for two weeks from now.  I have been thinking about how I let things taint my point of view and change my focus.

Wandering around the Strangefolk Festival yesterday, I felt so grounded.  I love to be around people with the same passions as mine.  There were a few booths that I simply could not relate to, I am seriously not sure of the beauty of wearing a necklace made out of forks, but maybe I am missing something? But most of it was stuff that I felt drawn to. 

I loved seeing the beautiful fibers (might go back today for some beautiful wools) and wood products (almost bought another drop spindle - need that like a hole in the head), absolutely fell in love with several pieces at a pottery booth.  I gotta tell you that it takes a very creative mind to create a "yarn bowl"... it is pure genius! And eventually I want one!! Hubby and I were laughing at the giant metal flowers, they were amazing though.

The live music and food vendors add an almost old time medival fest feeling to it all. The scents, the sounds the sights.  All rolled into one amazing experience.

Folks were just themselves, that is the beauty of Strangefolk.  I completely identify with them, I like the drummer that I hear beating my odd beat.  I love the willingness and passion to be yourself, do what you love and simply be.  It makes me happy.  I don't feel out of place there.  I don't feel like some sort of misfit.  I belong.  I am not the only person that craves homemade soap, one of a kind non-massed produced items.  I am definitely not the only one that has some type of fiber and needle sticking out of my bag. This is my kind of world.

I believe in the spirit and beauty of the crafter/artisan!  I love that there are places like The Strangefolk Festival where unique is celebrated.  Where my dollars are spent on locally made items to support local people.  It made my heart soar to watch a little boy dancing through the crowds with his dinosaur hat and a sword, I had just seen both at booths moments before.  He was so joyous, his imagination was fully engaged, he was ready to battle the world at that moment in time.

I loved that people had their dogs with them.  At one point hubby (a true animal lover) was talking to a couple of ladies and their pup.  She was a beauty.  It was a bit warm and she was panting a tad.  I was holding our water bottles when he asked me to fill his hands.  That pup loved the water, she was so thirsty, and that he was so kind and gentle made me so proud and happy.  I wish I had thought to snap a picture, to capture that moment for others to enjoy.  Instead it is trapped in my memory.  The beauty of his hands, cupped dripping with water and that pink tongue lapping it up before it could drip out. I am blessed to have a husband who has a heart so good and pure!

I think I might sweet talk him into going back today.  For just a bit.  I will take some medicine for my back, I twisted it or something and it was barking at me the whole time. So I didn't get to really enjoy all of it.  I want to go back and get that beautiful hand spun (that matches our Harley) to make hubby a cowl to keep his neck warm on the motorcycle, I want to get at least one package of roving from The Yarn Geek (I completely love her products and she and her hubby are amazing!)... I want to drool a bit more and absorb the sheer energy of so many creative people. 

Tomorrow the world will come rushing back in, so I need it today.

It fuels my passion, it makes me feel complete, it gives me energy. 

I have a gypsy heart.  I love to simply be.  I am creative. I am happiest in a non-structured free spirited world. I understood them.  I got the hippies with flowers in their hair, the unique and happy way folks were dressed.  I felt at peace there.  An older woman with long flowing white dreads, her skirt to the ground, no make up needed... sitting there crocheting while talking about the beautiful soaps with healing herbs, that she had surrounding her.  I get it...

Friday, September 27, 2013

The ever changing journey...

Let me state emphatically for the record, I am not a party person.  I am not going to ever seek out large groups of drunk people.  It simply isn't me or my style.  I didn't do it in my 20's and I am not going to do it in my late 40's... or one would think.

Last night I am pretty sure some kind of ritual/party ended up happening in my cabin. There we were enjoying the peace and quiet.  A few of my co-workers and I were sitting around quietly, unwinding, letting the strain of two intense days wash over us.  The first day had been deeply intense and had strained us all.  We were emotionally worn from it.  None of us had fully processed our feelings from day one when the second day, a complete polar opposite from the first left us feeling more torn, confused, convicted and simply emotionally drained.

The Skyline dip was heating in the microwave, the chips were waiting, the four of us had just toasted with our icy cold beers.  We were ready to relax, decompress, and unwind.  There were conversations waiting to happen, an early night awaiting us around the corner. It was perfect.... until the knock...

We have all established that I am not an overly social person.  In that kind of emotional turmoil and vacuum... well... lets say strained took on a whole new meaning.  The party lasted well past midnight, the chaos was more than I could absorb.  Shortly after 11 pm, I ran for the safety of my room.  I needed time to process all that had transpired over the course of two days.  The lows that felt like a bottomless pit to the highs that reached into the very stars themselves.

The power of yesterday was indescribable.  It was a new format, new leader and new energy.  It was the very definition of why I am part of the group that I am.  It defined for me those feeling, that energy and strength.  From the very minute it started it was powerful and inspiring.  The fact that laughter and joy were a cornerstone to the event made it touch my very soul.

I have drifted away from taking time to say my morning prayers, I had allowed life to overtake me.  Yesterday while I was sitting there quietly in that empty room looking at the lake, I had bowed my head in prayer.  I asked God to help me, because I was seriously struggling with my role and my place.  I felt that I had taken a long walk in the wrong direction.  I became part of the moment, cleared my thoughts and talked to God.

I didn't expect the power I found in my day.

I felt drawn to the classes I chose to take.  The messages were exactly what I needed to hear.  I could feel the change in my heart.  The hurt and anger of the day before, the doubt and despair lifted away.  I was remembering.  I was getting empowered and excited by the possibilities.  My efforts were not in vain, my work not wasted.  I was making a difference. I was having my "cup" refilled.

I was blessed to take two classes that changed my thought and heart processes.  I still need to process fully what I learned in those classes.  Community building and conversations were things that I needed to hear.  I chose with my heart, I heard with my heart.

The next highlight of the day was having the amazing opportunity to hear Pastor Jerry Parrish of Bradenton, Florida speak.  WOW!  I still have goosebumps, I still can hear his words, see his video, the faith and conviction he shared so openly and willingly with us.  When introduced the words "the man I aspire to be when I grow up" were used.  I can still only say wow... because that was a very true phrase!  I looked him up on you tube and will be watching a few of his sermons and speeches.  He is a truly kind, compassionate man that fully allows the spirit to lead, guide and use him to change the world.  Florida is blessed to have him, the world is.

The fellowship of the day was very powerful for me.  The raucous party in my cabin wasn't. But... even in the midst of the chaos I was able to find time to be with people important to me, to touch base, reconnect, talk.  I was happy to see so many that I care about near and laughing.  There were parts I could do without, but I was simply tired and ready to stop.  I simply needed the peace I crave.  I found it in sleep, they continued on probably not missing me at all.

This morning tired, groggy and a bit irradiated at what I had perceived as rude and selfish behavior, I wandered out to find that one of my co-workers had cleaned up the mess, left our cabin looking little less worse for the wear.  I discovered a morning with the fog hanging heavy over the lake, and a renewed sense of wonder.

I had a breakfast conversation that almost brought me to tears.  Our friend that had passed a few weeks ago, the one I wrote about, her son took the time to tell me he had read what I had written.  To thank me.  To know that I had been able to provide even a bit of comfort... wow... it set the tone for a beautiful, amazing day.

Betty wrote words of comfort on my blog, she understands me deeply, probably better than I do myself and she is a strong influence on me.  They helped... I have amazing people in my life, and together we can change the world!

I am not a kid anymore, I am okay with who I am and where life has led me.  Our team building was truly inspiring, not like in the past, it felt like something changed in the past two days.  Wednesday is so far away.

I am on a journey, it is ever changing.

I am home now, back in my comfort zone, back to where I find the greatest amount of peace.  Surrounded by those I love, I still have work to do, but a clearer path before me...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Reflections of a day lost...

 I'm waiting to see the sunrise over the lake... From my balcony I can see the most spectacular view! I love being tucked out in the country and having the beauty and peace all around me.  Last night we sat out on the deck drinking a few beers and laughing together as friends.  The stars were so bright that it looked like we had simply been dropped right in the middle of the milky way. Unlike in the city where you can only see select stars and the moon.  Out here on the lake the sky is deep, rich and velvety and the stars are so numerous that it appears they run together. Creating lines of light in the fabric of the sky.

The good Lord must have known I was going to need space yesterday to deal with the day.  For the first time in over 10 years I found myself completely alone last night.  No hubby, no room mates, and no pets.  It was odd to say the least.  I am used to sharing my world with many others.  Complete silence, no phone, no television, no radio... that is just odd for me. But it's okay.

Yesterday was not a good day.  I don't like some things and yesterday was about 10 hours of those things I seriously dislike.  It was stressful, demotivating and uncomfortable.  It was so many feelings and negative emotions that I almost imploded.  I am a positive person.  I don't believe in a no win scenario.  What I do believe in is finding a solution that makes everyone feel if not happy at least comfortable with the outcome.  I didn't feel that yesterday.

It was a serious struggle for me.  Surrounded by beauty and friends I felt like someone was trying to force feelings of failure and unworthiness.  Over the course of the next few weeks I seriously need to do some gut checking.  I need to figure out the who's, what's and why's of my life and my world.  I may have made a serious miscalculation over six years ago, and it's just taking me a long time to realize it.  I am a slow learner I guess.

Surrounded by the peace and beauty, I need to stop and back up.  I need to recenter and think.  I need to weigh what is best for my family against what is the reality of my world at this time.

Sitting here watching the sun come up over the hills, the mist clearing over the peaceful lake, lost in tranquility, I am wondering if I have the strength and emotional fortitude to make it through a repeat of yesterday. Will it be a repeat?  Different players are entering the stage. Maybe there will be a positive note to today, maybe the beauty and the energy of the location will fill the rooms and speakers.  Will it be uplifting?

Here in the silence of my room, with the beauty of nature, I am struggling.  It was demanded yesterday "what is your passion"... I used to think I knew... I know what it isn't... I really know what it isn't.  It isn't negative, demeaning, insulting or critical... that isn't a world I can live in, it isn't even a world I can pretend to play in.

It is a lifetime away from who I am and what I want out of life.  I am those stars that are sparkling, looking to shine light, to be good and hopeful.  I am not that deep, bottomless darkness. Oddly I am not the one seeking to outshine anything.  I simply want to be a piece of what is making the world whole, good and amazing for all of us.

It feels like the gentle breeze blowing across the water is also blowing across my thoughts and feelings... ruffling them like those tiny waves...

I don't ask for much... kindness, respect, compassion, caring and understanding, those don't seem like they should be too much...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On the road again...

YMCA Trout Lodge
I haven't even packed yet and I am already missing HOME!!  Home is where I am most centered and function the best.  I need time with my family, my pets, my stuff... so even though I am going to be in a beautiful setting surrounded by people that I enjoy spending quality time with, I am going to miss home.

I will try to find a moment or two to write while I am gone, but internet is kinda sketchy and time looks like it will be really limited.  We have a pretty full agenda, lots of activities and sessions.  I am trying to decide what sessions I feel the strongest about.  I know there are several that I have done in the past, so I will probably skip those. There are a few new presenters so maybe I will take theirs and see what their spin is on the subject... decisions, decisions and I haven't even had a full cup of coffee yet.

On the plus side, during the "down" time there is so much to do down at Trout Lodge.  Hopefully the leaves will have started to change and the sun will be out. There are beautiful walking paths or sitting on the deck. The carp in the lake are almost as big a person and it is delightful to sit and watch them swim and beg.

Hubby will take care of the home front, loving on my boys, and watching a lot of television... I will miss them.

I guess I'd better stop whining and start packing... seems I have a trip to take...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chasin' those dark clouds away...

Today absolutely, positively did not start out great!  I don't do high pressure well, I don't like to feel rushed and out of time.  I cannot stand to feel like things are out of my control... when I have a stack of work that I am not getting completed and feel like things are rapidly spiraling down the rabbit hole, my mood gets darker... much darker...

Its early... hard up against serious deadlines... blacker and blacker.... By lunch time... stress level was so high I was fairly sure that I had lost my smile...

My dear Betty was trying desperately to bring me back to center.  Poor dear was a bit under the weather and more worried if I was going to have a melt down. 

Typing through lunch, calculations raining down on me, numbers, more numbers... interruptions, quests for help, more and more stress... feeling that spiral closing in...

Tick, tick, tick... will I ever get it done? My brain was swimming, sick of numbers, needing to be done...

Suddenly, it's three, it's done.  It's almost five... it's almost time...

There is a light, I can see it... almost five thirty... the ladies are starting to come in... the excitement and chatter is starting.  Beautiful fabrics, sparkling eyes - the vision of projects coming to life, the colors...
Sandy's last project, beautiful!
Houndstooth with black lining... cannot wait to see this!!

Sweet B, she's new to this whole thing, she is working on a very special project... she is learning in baby steps... I cannot wait to see it come to life. "A" is another newbie to our class... first quilt, sewing for many years, beautiful fabrics and pattern... another exciting project. Brenda is back... and she has such a beautiful spread of colors, simple pattern, beautiful texture, so exciting! Sandy, my seasoned quilter at this point, is moving away from quilts, her pup needs a new jacket to warm her against the coming winter.  I cannot wait to see it! Hubby has started another project but work is keeping him too busy to spend much time on it...

Sandy working on the coat
Sweet B is concentrating so hard... she's doing wonderful!

Brenda is off and blending colors
The sounds are soothing to my tattered nerves, the hummm of the machines, louder than mine at home beautiful just the same.  Snip, snip of scissors.  Zip, zip the soft slashing sound of the rotary cutters.  That special rustle that comes from fabric and the steam of the iron.  The soft sounds of conversation and creative dreams.  That is my realm.  That is where my heart softens, that bubble where nothing bad can creep in, where life slows... where the magic of creativity chases all those clouds of stress, darkness, frustration and temper away.

"A" is plotting the color scheme's out...

Pushing the clouds away, it makes the world a better place... I cherish Tuesday nights, I cherish the time with the gals, I love the energy and power that flows from them... I am thankful for the time spent with them...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Family... it centers me!

Our maple last autumn
Good Morning Autumn... I knew you weren't teasing, that you had finally come to stay!  I slept so sound, I love to be chilled and snuggled up in quilts and blankets all night long (it reminds me of nights spent with Grammie and Papa long ago)!  It really sets the tone for another wonderful day!

Yesterday was so much fun for me.  Oh, I didn't do anything special at all.  At least not to some.  To me... it was amazing!

Yesterday, I curled up in my big comfy chair and worked on hats.  That is about all I physically did. Minions and zombies surrounding me.  It was the stuff that happened around me that was awesome!  My son came out and spent hours with me.  We simply talked about everything and nothing at all.  As my needle wove in and out of the fabric I was creating we talked about the changing season, world, job searches, college, jokes, talked about quirks and things that bothered us.  We talked about things we want to do and things we want to avoid.  It's been a long time since we spent hours together just chatting.

I loved it!  Ever since he was a little bitty guy, he and I have had chats like that.  I missed them terribly.  Oh we aren't solving world peace, the deficit, or creating job growth at all.  We are simply being.

Hubby was in a movie mood and found himself snuggled up on the sofa in the man cave with his pups watching old movies and relaxing.  So my boy and I took over the living room.  We watched snippets of e-gaming on my computer, the stuff they can do with computers is simply amazing! He showed me some websites he's found to help him brush up on writing code. We simply hung out together.

It was so nice to have time to do that.  During the course of our chat my fingers never stopped... four hats later it was time to fix dinner.  The spell was broken.

Over the course of the day I'd text messaged my girl, chatted with hubby, loved on my pets and simply enjoyed. It was a fulfilling day. It was topped off with an online Thirty-One party with my aunts and cousins back home.  As I have never lived back home as an adult, I can assure you that is something I never thought I would ever do.  How fun is that? It was a bit challenging for my brain by that point in the day, because each time someone would comment on a post it would pop around, I was getting dizzy!

Over the course of two days I had time to talk to family and friends all over.  As much as I cannot stand technology, I am also grateful for it.  I can see those important to me, support and be supported, talk and laugh with those too far away for that to be a daily occurrence.  It makes my world less spread out.  It makes those I love seem just a bit closer than they are. 

At one of our district retreats a couple of years back Tiff trained us on keeping our buckets filled and what did that mean to us.  I felt guilty back then, because I am sure the goal was how it applied to our careers.  Since then, I have learned that isn't who I am.  My center focus is now and always has been my family and friends.  I enjoy my career, but it is never going to be my burning passion.  That is reserved for my family and friends.  That pastor last weekend put it perfectly when he said faith, family and friends.  It truly is all I need to feel like the world is moving in a perfectly smooth direction.

I no longer feel guilty.  My bucket gets filled when I have the time to focus on what is important to me.  And it isn't about sales or retention, goals and numbers.  It's about conversations and laughter.  Its about seeing the sparkle in my not so little man's eyes when he's pulled a prank on me.  It's the laughter that I can read in my daughter's text message over a shared joke or idea.  It's having a peaceful evening sitting on the sofa with hubby eating an ice cream and watching our boys patiently wait for anything we leave.  It's my sweet grand baby telling me hello, I love and miss you when I call to check up on the grand kitty.

I need the things that are important to me, when they are in short supply I find it hard to be a happy cheerful person.  Even though I am not ready to burst that bubble of contentment, I am looking forward to heading into work today.  I have dear friends I work with that I have missed over the past week.  I need to reconnect with them before heading back away from everyone.  I need to balance my world.

Am I the only one that feels that Autumn is a time when the family reconnects?  Over summer there are trips and activities... a million different directions all at once... then as slowly as the leaves fall we start drawing back together.  Even our youngest two are finding time in their schedule for us...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A time for everything....

Autumn is nipping the air, it's crisp and sharp.  It arrived this morning in grand fashion! There is change in the air.  The world is undergoing a powerful transformation.  The nights are getting longer, dinner is barely over when the sun has decided to tuck itself in for the night.  The sun is taking a bit longer to wake each morning. This is my favorite time of year. 

Maybe I don't think right... who knows, if you are reading this and have even the slightest thought that I do, then you are probably just as off as I am.  I love Autumn. It is by far my favorite of the seasons.  Summer is brutally hot, I don't do well with heat and humidity.  Winter, while it has beautiful moments that I love, is a bully that doesn't know when it's time to go away.  Spring is a close second, if it weren't so fragile and brief.  It expends all it's energy to push winter away and is left frail and fleeting. 

But Autumn is so wondrous.  It slowly escorts summer out, like a gentleman, not exactly pushy just firm. By early September you are sure to see those first few leaves starting to drop.  That gentle announcement that it's on its way.  The gradual lengthening of the night... wasn't it lighter last week at this time?

For me it's an energizing time.  Kids are back at school. September has always been like my January.  It's the time for changes, plans, celebration, joy.  I am like a little kid when the leaves start to fly, my energy soars. I will laugh with delight at the beautiful patchwork of the hills, inspired to create.  I will kick up leaves and sip coffee by a fire waiting for sunrise to sneak in. It's a time to bake apple pies, make caramel apples and applesauce.  Check up on your stockpiles and canning to insure the sweet tastes of summer continues all year.  A time to harvest the last of your garden putting up what you can.  Break out the jeans and sweatshirts!

Autumn is my favorite!  I love the changes it brings.

This year it feels like it is ushering in far greater changes.  This year it feels like there is a difference in our world.  I am an optimist, I am pretty darn positive, but this year I am fearful.  I am seeing more ugly in the world.  It feels planned and orchestrated.  It feels like evil is trying to win.

Each day you see more senseless violence.  Chicago is now the murder capital of the world. By car that is six hours away.  Too darn close for my likings. But then St. L isn't much better, you can barely pick up a paper and not read of another senseless shooting.

Every time there is violence there is another call to ban guns.  It makes me ill.  We need to address the reason, not the result.  Chicago is a gun free zone.... I am fairly sure they aren't choking each other to death up there.

There is a horrid sense of entitlement, that is the root of it, in my opinion.  People are constantly wanting something that isn't theirs or money they didn't earn.  They have the gimme's... Somewhere, somehow we lost touch with the golden rule.  Somehow respect and love for our fellow man vanished. We used to take care of others, family or not, now we wait for some nameless, faceless bureaucracy to do it. At some point in the long hot summer we simply stopped caring. Oh not everyone, but I am frightened that too many have.

Yesterday I heard a woman speaking to her elderly mother at Walmart (go figure...) Mom was on a motorized cart and looked so tired, like it was everything she had in her to be there.  That woman was snapping and barking at her mother, simply because she had let her hand slip from the power button and come to an abrupt stop.  That mom, looked devastated, close to tears and embarrassed that her daughter would speak to her like that.  I felt that way for her. 

If we can treat our parents and family like that, what is going to stop us from treating total strangers like that?  Or worse?

Blame video games, blame guns, drugs or alcohol, blame every inanimate thing you want.  Ultimately, it is us as people that have to face the music, know right from wrong, and do what we need to do.  We are slowly changing as people from bright vibrant autumn colors full of power and beauty into cold, empty remnants of our former selves.  We are not focusing on people, but on things.  We are listening more and more to the darker side of things.  Satan is whispering in too many people's ears. We have forgotten the skills of love, compassion, common sense, caring, respect, honesty and personal responsibility. We are listening to the darkness....

Ecclesiastes 3

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

I worry that our silly world has moved right past it's Autumn.  Failed savor and enjoy it's textures and colors.  That we are rushing headlong into the dreary, drawn out dead of winter.  I wish that everyone would step back, do a serious gut check and refocus on being human beings again.  Flawed but wonderful... not minions of a darker side...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Be it ever so humble...

I'm sitting here 'til my mommy comes home!
There is no place like home!!  Curled up in my over stuffed chair after a nice hot shower (that had enough pressure to actually rinse my hair) with a cup of hot coffee and my fur babies all over the living room.  I am so glad to be home. 

Oh it isn't perfect.  It could be cleaner and more organized.  But it is comfortable! It is safe and it is cozy.  I feel like things are right surrounded by my family (two and four legged)... I feel completely in balance.

I had a great time with my peers at the training in Springfield.  I met some new folks, some of whom I am sure I will keep in touch with.  I wasn't able to get an internet signal, even though they claimed there was one.  I didn't get a chance to write my blog, it made me feel out of sync.  This has become a normal part of starting my day and when I don't have that time... well I just feel like I have forgotten something, it feels incomplete.

Springfield was quite a unique experience for me.  I really enjoyed it there and felt that I could move there and enjoy it.  I never met a single unfriendly or grouchy person.  Everyone was polite and kind.  It was like being in Mayberry with bigger buildings.  Now I will admit that I was only in the downtown area.  But I really liked it.  I loved how they combine the oldest buildings with the newer ones.  It is not a utopia, it is real.  There are boarded up buildings and for sales signs sprinkled throughout.  But they lack the graffiti and broken windows that I am used to.

It's a college town, but not like other ones I have been to.  It wasn't a solid wall of young people, it was a complete mix of people of all ages.  There were coffee shops, but they were not everywhere.  I would say there were far more breweries than coffee shops.  We sat outside and enjoyed dinner in outside pubs.  I never felt danger, not once.  Which is strange to me for a downtown area.  I am used to a rougher element.  An edgy feeling that keeps you on your toes.

Springfield was calmer, quieter.  I am sure it has busy days, I am sure there are times in the year when it is crazy.  We weren't there during that time and I really enjoyed it.  It felt like a little big town.  It was bigger than a place I usually feel at home in, and yet it wasn't.  I felt at home there.

I didn't enjoy being away from home.  I hated not having a comfortable chair to sit in at the end of a long day.  But I loved the time I got to spend with Mandy and "the boys" (as our boss called them).  We laughed and bonded.  Discovered things we didn't know about each other.  There were late evening chats and shared experiences.  Too many cups of coffee, and stale pretzels (ugghhh - that was unpleasant).  There was a nightly beer or two and shared stories of families and pets.  That part was priceless...

But I am so happy to be home!  Things happened that I wanted to be home to help with... my grand kitty had major surgery and I was too far away to support my girl as she struggled through it all.  I am so grateful for text and internet so that I could be there if only remotely. My boy made decisions that I thought were amazing!  But I could only be supportive via instant message.  As a mom those things were very hard for me.  My hubby was lonely and my boys missed mommy so much.  My Gator is still irritated at me.

What do you mean?  Leaving again???
I will enjoy the next four days home with the family. Then it is off to the next trip away from home.  For a homebody such as me... it is so hard to be so far away from "my life force"...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Heading out...

Only have a few minutes this morning.  It's crazy today... I have already put the laundry in the dryer and I am getting ready to pack. 

I was one of four selected to go to a training in Springfield Missouri.  I will be gone until Friday.  I am not really sure how I feel about it.  It has caused me to have to change up a lot of things and switch around my quilting class.  I also do not like to be away from home. That is just me...

I am going to put a positive spin on it, I am basically an optimist looking for a silver lining.  It's how I do things.

I am not driving, that in and of itself is a bonus.  I don't like to drive for one thing and it gives me almost four hours each way to work on beanies.  I am not a fan of meeting new people, it simply isn't my thing.  Probably has a lot to do with being a military brat.  That part will be a challenge. I get to room with one of the sweetest young women, that is another positive. 

I guess I am ambiguous.  I am hopeful for the best, I want it to be worth my time, especially as I am going so far away from my family. I have taken this class three times before, so I am concerned as to it's value for me.  It's a new format, so maybe there are nuggets that will resonate, maybe there is something I didn't hear before that will pop out to me.

I don't know if I will be able update my blog this week... we'll see... I will take my laptop.  I am excited to go to Springfield, I have only driven through.  And I will enjoy time with my peers.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Faith, Family, Friends...

We went to the home-going celebration for Mary yesterday.  It was spectacular! I was concerned and very apprehensive about going. I did not attend a wake or funeral until I was in my thirties when my dear Grammie got to go home.  It was traumatic and stressful.  Since then Hubby has insured that I have been to many.  I still have a very hard time with it. 

Mary's son, truly honored the essence of Mary.  There was no casket, no body (thank you Aunt Judy for saying those words to me at Grammie's funeral - that isn't her, she isn't there, that is simply the body... it helped greatly!).  There was a display of things that meant a great deal to her, things that she had saved because of the value to her, a dress from when she taught that had figures drawn on it, a scrap book of school pictures given to her by her students with the school, year and their names written carefully by each of them.  A collection of pens from her father, memorabilia from her son's wedding.  And a looping video show of all the pictures of Mary. 

Beautiful flowers everywhere and so many people that loved Mary all talking together and sharing stories of how she touched their lives.  It was powerful.

The memorial was just as beautifully done.  It was a true celebration of her life, and how she had lived it.  Mary touched so many people, and she made each one feel as though they were the most important person in the world to her. 

The pastor used several phrases to describe her.  They were powerful!  One was the title of this blog entry.  Faith, Family, and Friends because if you had those three things you were the most blessed of people.  Mary had been a shining example of that.  I reflected on that as I sat in the chapel and listened.  He's was right.  You do not need all the money in the world, you don't need to be powerful, all you truly need is your faith, family and friends and you have everything anyone needs.

The other was a Bible verse, 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race and I have kept the faith.  Looking at the beautiful smile on her face in the picture of her and her son at the front of the room, I am sure she would have approved.  I like that verse, I think it needs to be something that I will focus on. 

What a home-going it was.  There were a few tears, as she will be greatly missed.  But mostly there were smiles of happiness for her promotion in life. There was no doubt that she was laughing and smiling down on all of those gathered, the sweet message being "I'm okay, I finished my race, now finish yours." She was a teacher to the end...

Her family and friends will need some time to adjust to the hole that is left, but all will heal.  I hope that in the grief they heard the words the pastor shared, I wouldn't be surprised if she had picked them herself.  They are good words for all of us.

A reminder of what matters in life.

Fight the Good Fight
Finish the Race
Keep the Faith

and always keep the three most important things front and center...


the rest is simply the stuff that gathers around a well lived life...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Stitching + Thinking = Dangerous...

It's been an interesting 24 hours.  I have been crocheting until my fingers are numb, trying to calm my stress about this craft fair I decided to do.  I have only done one before and it was a complete disaster, so my nerve factor is a bit high.  Imagine that...

All in a days work...
I didn't even join hubby and our friends on our monthly trip to the rummage sale that benefits the food pantry in the neighboring town.  I just kept working.  I hadn't mentioned anything to hubby, nothing to look for or find.  I just told him to have fun.  He never ceases to amaze me, because I was thinking if you find any yarn...but I didn't say it, yet he came home with a great surprise!  Evidently, he was standing there just as they brought out a box of yarns.  So of course he was quick to snatch them up for me.  Now the awesome thing about this rummage sale is whatever you can fit in a bag is only $3, all of this fit in one bag!  And it was full of wonderful treasures!  I am on my fourth hat from the bag.  And I am so excited because of the mixture of colors and textures.  There is even perfect green for the zombie hats!  How cool is that?

The challenge is that sitting here crocheting gives me lots of time to think.  For me that is dangerous.  I also have had time to catch up on The Blaze.  I love The Blaze, it makes me think.  It is in sync with my personal beliefs and it simply makes sense to me.  I wish that U-Verse would add it, it sort of irritates me that I am paying for Al-jeez-era and dozens of Spanish language channels, without the option of dropping them (I don't watch any of that so why should I pay for it), but they refuse to include The Blaze to the options I can pick from.  Seriously looking at switching to Dish or Roku for that very reason.

It bothers me that I am only allowed to be considered opened minded if I am willing to only watch what is picked for me and accept it.  But not allowed to watch what is important or relevant to me without judgement. 

I am also considering doing away with my Facebook account, I was so frustrated when I noticed they deleted one of my favorite pages.  Simply because it was about an animal, evidently they don't consider that social, seriously?  A community has formed around that page, people that care about each other and support each other, who cares if it was a sweet puppy that drew them all together.  They forced them to create a business page, because they also have a business.  Mind you they don't sell on their page, they do raise money for charities, they do raise awareness of animal abuses, and of the need to spay and neuter your pets.  So I am very confused.

Almost immediately after this happens I have Facebook asking me what my relationship is to my aunt, again with the seriously?  I feel like everyone is trying to control who I know, who I associate with, what I am allowed to see and watch. It is annoying and frustrating!

I have friends and family that are the same as me, similar to me, completely different than me.  We all have our own thoughts and beliefs. Our colors, creeds, religions and beliefs might not be the same but they are all equally important.  They create the fabric and texture of my life.  I don't want anyone editing out the colors or textures of my life.  If I choose to spend my time and energy as part of it, then that is my choice. 

I wanted quite badly to participate in the 2 Million Biker ride on Sept. 11.  Luckily we didn't, due to the issues we have had with our bike.  I am so thankful that so many others did ride. And I am thankful for all other countries that covered it, because ironically it appeared our country didn't want us to know about it. I am tired of having my world censored, I am tired of having someone else decide what is important and needed in my life, my knowledge base, my world...

So as I sit and stitch, my mind is wandering to things that are frustrating and confusing. To things that just make me wonder why?  And that is by far too dangerous a place for it to play....

Saturday, September 14, 2013

What's fate got to do with it?

Do you ever feel like something is conspiring to take control of your life?  To put you in check?  To help you do what you should be doing, not what you want to be doing?
Crossing the Poplar, on a beautiful morning
I feel that way right now.  Yesterday morning we were cruising through "the hood" on our sweet little Harley.  Enjoying the crisp air and day dreaming of all the riding we could enjoy this weekend.  The first true fall weather weekend we've had.  Ah... sweet day dreams!  Hubby wrapped in his leather, telling me that I needed to get some leathers as soon as possible so I would enjoy the ride a bit more on those chilly mornings.  We were distracted by pleasure.

In the back of my mind was the niggling thought that I had committed to a craft fair that was rapidly approaching!  Less than a month away.  Panic is starting to set in... but ah the freedom, the fun, the pleasure...

Our windshield had come in and we were getting it installed today, that was the plan, before dashing off for a quick (okay who are we kidding) ride.  Hubby was wanting to swing by the dealer to see if by any chance they might be able to squeeze in the install yesterday, so that it didn't interrupt the weekend.  Didn't slow us down any.  Hoping that we might scoot off and find a sunrise to share our coffee with this morning.

We had already scheduled the appointment for new tires to be installed on October first, we had a plan in place.

That was when fate, yarn angels, what ever you want to call it stepped in.  Our plans came to a screeching halt.  I watch hubby pull her into the garage every day, I pay close attention to that back tire, because it scares me to watch him pull up that little ramp.  Makes me nervous. There was nothing wrong with the tire the night before, nothing wrong with it all day... but just as we started to say well the work I needed to do could wait a few hours and we would go riding for a bit, I looked at the back tire.  We were still at the dealership, they'd just installed the windshield.

I pointed it out to hubby. Thankful.

Thankful, because just thirty minutes before I had been sitting in the waiting room of the dealership pouting.  I was annoyed that we were letting such a beautiful afternoon go to waste. I was annoyed because a thirty minute job had stretched to almost an hour. I was annoyed because instead of sitting there bored out of my mind I could have been spending time working on beanies maybe talking to my son... but no I was sitting there bored.  I don't like to be bored, it doesn't work well for me at all! So I was rapidly spiraling into a really dark, ugly place.

Seeing that tire... I was thankful for that time.  I don't recall seeing it damaged as we left the house, and I always walk up from behind.  So it must have happened as we drove over.  In thirty minutes to an hour, hubby and I can make some serious distance.  And we do not head for the well traveled roads.  We find the back roads, those deserted in favor of a more direct and rapid route.  We can travel well over a hundred miles and rarely be more than 30 miles from our front door at the furthest point.  If we hadn't stopped to see if they could squeeze us in, if we had just headed out... well who knows where we would have been or what we would have doing... who knows what could have happened.

I strongly believe in Guardian Angels, and I am fairly sure I keep mine working overtime!  And I have a feeling that my Guardian Angel was doing everything in their power to insure we didn't go riding last night.  The dealership that had been booked solid had a free slot all the sudden to install our windshield, the delay in time, the aggravation that had me looking down and pouting.

Well played Angel, well played.  So the beautiful blue Harley is parked.  Just for two weeks, when the budget allows the new tires to be installed.  Just enough time for me to be forced to work on my projects, to get ready for the craft show. We will have her back in just enough time to enjoy the fall foliage, to take a break.

Sometimes that Guardian Angel really has to step it up to keep me in check.  I am easily distracted... I admit it...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"woo hoo! what a ride!!!"

I have spent the day trying to figure out what words I want to write.  Today started as an ordinary day.  Had to be to work early, no problem. While giving my morning staff person a break hubby appeared behind me.  Words had escaped him.  His eyes were sparkling a brilliant red.  He was holding the desk for support.  He didn't need words, I understood.

One of his dear friends left this earth today.  I am sure there was a grand home coming when she arrived, with her husband there to greet her.  I can almost imagine it as I sit here tonight.  Heaven called an angel home.  Those left behind, though celebrating her home going, were left hallow.

She lived the kind of life that could only be summed up one way...

“I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”
Marjorie Pay Hinckley

I had first met her over 10 years ago.  She was cracking highly inappropriate jokes with hubby, they were both loving it completely!  She was the part time book keeper, a retired school teacher, and one of the most wonderfully delightful women I have ever met.

I didn't realize she was married until almost the time her husband passed on.  I knew she was the Mom of a fellow Y person, that she was a devoted friend to hubby and most everyone else she met.  I knew that she was unselfish and caring.  That her son was the light of her life and that she would do anything for anyone.

During the ten years I knew her, I heard her laugh many crackly laughs with that wicked sense of humor.  I saw her give willingly and unselfishly of her time, knowledge, energy and strength.  She would always have a shoulder for someone that needed it, but it would be given with a big dish of reality.

Sunday we will go and pay respects.  It will be hard.  But only so hard because Mary lived a remarkable life! She raised a good son that she was so very proud of.  She had many friends.  I expect the funeral home will be standing room only, I am sure there will be a long wait to pay respects to a woman that was amazing!

Today, I will say one more prayer for her son and his wife.  Their hearts must be aching so much, because even a well earned rest is too much, I am sure that he needed forever (I understand that myself!)... but I will celebrate Mary.  I will be thankful for the time we got to share her presence on this earth.  The last few months have been a struggle for her, the worst kind of struggle.  She earned her rest. 

Heaven is a much brighter place today, earth is a bit dimmer as one of the brightest stars went out.  Hubby will heal, but the loss of his friend is heavy on his heart today. 

Please live your life like she did... please live it so you can arrive saying "WOO HOO, WHAT A RIDE!"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where were you???

Looking back through hazy memories, Alan Jackson singing "Where Were You" rattling in my mind, I remember...

Do you remember where you were when the world changed?  I do.  I felt like I was in a front row seat to watch that profound change.  I wasn't in the USA, I was on a military base, tucked in tight beside an international airport. I watched from thousands of miles away and lived it first hand, as for the first time in my life I lived on a base that was in Threat Con Delta. Our world froze, we didn't experience that when the bomb went off on our base just a few years before. 

I had just gotten home from work.  My son was watching cartoons, I was chatting with family in the US on instant message. Within the blink of an eye cartoons were gone, son was furious, and my ex and I sat there in stunned silence.  My ex was on vacation, kicked back in his recliner, he always took the first week of football season off.  The first words he said to me, "my vacation is over"... seconds later the phone rang.  Mandatory recall of all mission essential personel.  He was right.

The next thing we noticed was the silence.  Over the next few hours the few planes in the air would slowly land. Cars would cease driving and everything around us would close.  Our gates were guarded by not only our military police, but also the airport police and the German Police.  I called my daughter home, she was at a friends.  I needed to know they were safe.

For almost a week we lived in a cocoon, no school, no work, no movement.  They brought food supplies to the shoppette for our sponsors to go purchase.  The kids didn't go outside, it was quiet, still and fearful. Even as we went back to living, it was profoundly changed.  Our school buses had armed military guards, we couldn't just move freely at will... we lived a completely different life from that point forward.

Being military we all knew who was responsible, we weren't living in the bubble that so many American's lived in then.  We knew that dreaded name "Bin Laden", it was real to us.  We understood, quickly.  We knew what terrorism was...

In our little cocoon, with our German friends watching over us. We were watching through the television screen, talking to people via computer and phone.  And praying.  Praying for those lost, praying for their families, praying for American's and praying for our world. 

I have a favorite picture from then, I wish I had access to it now. My ex took that picture, it was raining, it's black and white. It's a single rose tucked into the fence that normally would have been opened, but was closed to protect the families living at the end of that runway.  It's a powerful picture.

It wasn't just America that changed 12 years ago.  It was the world, for better or worse, despite countries, governments and politics, people stood together.  People cared about people, they mourned, they worried, they were the strength for one another when it was in short supply.

A year ago, four more American's lost their lives on 9/11.  I remember feeling absolute horror at watching the video, listening to things unfold.  Hearing our Secretary of State say what difference does it make now.  It matters.  To their families and loved ones it matters.  Just as much as each of those lost in the Towers, the Field, the Pentagon.  It matters!

Today we stand on the edge of getting involved in another conflict.  One I firmly believe we don't belong in.  I worry about the thoughts that drive people.  I worry about their agendas.  I fear that selfish inner motives are going to cause more loss of life.  As I listened to the American President last night, I was dumbstruck.  He isn't speaking for me, I doubt he is speaking for the rest of a war weary country.  He was speaking for the elite, the ones that only worry about things like pride and saving face.  The ones who's family members will not perish fighting for something that doesn't involve us.

I spent my life living in places torn apart by wars.  They are different.  There is a stronger value of life, they realize how easily it goes away.  I have always said that America would be stronger if there were more people that realized how quickly it can all be gone.  It's a lesson I never wanted us to learn, it's a lesson I never want us to forget.

9/11 allowed us as American's to truly recognize our true hero's the ones running in instead of running out.  We are a country of hero's.  We are a strong people.  I think we forget that.

I am praying again this 9/11.  I am praying that there is no more.  I am praying that our world can remember 9/12.  I am praying for answers and resolutions.  I am praying for peace and growth. 

Because I do remember...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Celebrating The B's!

Maybe I should have read my horoscope yesterday, it might have warned me it was going to be one of those days.  The ones where you chase your tail and run as fast as you can to get absolutely no where.  Because it sure was!

I try hard to stay focused on days like that.  Making detailed lists and working through each step.  I struggle sometimes when I get overloaded like that.  My brain wants to shut down and quit working.  It starts to mix things up, or simply forget about them completely.  On days like that... it is everything I can do to simply maintain.

I think I would be completely lost without The B's.  They are more than administrative support.  They sense when it's one of those days.  They effortlessly keep things together so that even though I am melting down slowly, they seem to be the only two that know it.  Papers that I have misplaced will miraculously reappear. Stuff that I have printed and in my haste forgotten seems to have legs to arrive at my desk.

When my world is overwhelming and I need space, they both understand and step back to give me quiet support.  Unlike some who insist that whatever they want to say is what I must listen to, despite being asked to give me a minute.  They get it.

They both use laughter and a positive attitude to make even the rockiest days smooth as a beach pebble.  I really would be lost without them.  I know they have my back.  I know that I can count on both of them to accomplish their tasks and then think twelve steps forward to what might be coming.

They are my work family.  The folks that I look for to celebrate with and to share struggles. I enjoy being there when they are there and miss them when they are away. They are both strong women, that have overcome so much in their lives.  I respect and admire them for their strength.  I  don't know as I could ever be as strong as they are. But what an amazing pair of role models they are if I ever need to find out.

They seem to know that there are days that no matter what, I am simply not going to remember things and will struggle to keep things moving in the right direction. They are both full of amazing qualities.  And I am thankful to be able to call both of them friends.  I know that I am the supervisor, luckily for me they are not the kind that need much supervision, they are the kind that simply know.  So I am blessed that they can also be my friends.

I am optimistic that today will be better... those kind of days don't happen often... It will still be crazy busy, that isn't going to stop for for quite some time.  Quilting class starts again tonight.  I am so excited about that.  I figure with The B's and quilting life will be just fine...

I am  blessed!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Making Progress!

I am sitting here listening to a combination of the cicada's winding down (they have been really bad this year) and Kirk Cameron subbing for Glenn Beck.  Wow... that is pretty much all I can say about this man.  Hard to see the old sit com star behind the man he's become.

I have been working on hats all day long, seems God had a chat with Mother Nature and she arranged for lots of rain and thunderstorms.  I didn't have to feel guilty about needing to work on things for the craft show.  I was given a pass. 

It's been a very productive day!  In fact it is scary how productive it has been.  My fingers are a bit tired, but my stress has gone down so much. Hubby sweet talked me into going out with him for lunch. I was hesitant... That three hour tour from yesterday kept popping into my mind.  But I decided I could throw my yarn and needles in my purse and head out.  Thanks to the rain I would be able to work on my projects between travels.

We had a great lunch, with lots of time to visit and chat, and decided to run to JoAnn's on the way home.  As we were heading over Hubby decided he needed to go into Savers.  He loves that store.  I do too... but I could hear the clock... tick, tick, tick...

He was so determined and willing to walk over in the rain just to browse.  It seemed so important to him that I couldn't tell him no.  That silly needle and yarn could wait.  It seemed important.  Whatever was drawing him there was strong!

I'm so glad we did! Hubby found a perfect leather motorcycle jacket.  His size, style and in almost new condition and at an eighth of the cost of the one almost identical that I had been looking at the day before! I would have been a happy camper if that was the only treasure we managed to find.  It seems destiny was on our side today, because as we were walking over to get in line, there on display were Styrofoam heads. I have been searching everywhere for those silly things.  I wanted them for my booth, as most of the stuff I will have at the craft fair will be beanies.  I have not been able to find them anywhere, and here I find six.  Well they had more, but the other two were simply too beat up to make me happy.

As it is well established that I am the queen of cheap, you can bet it made my penny pinching heart squeal with joy to get all of that for less than $65!  In fact I am still excited by it all! The beanies look so awesome on the heads and Hubby looks so handsome in his new leather jacket! Bring on the fall weather my baby will be toasty cruising around on the bike looking at the beautiful foliage.

My sweet grand baby called me a few times today.  Seems everyone was sleeping at her house and she was lonely.  I wish she lived closer, she wanted to come over, but it is too far for me to steal her for an hour or so now.  She asked what I was doing and I told her I was working on beanies... that I needed at least 100 before the craft show, she was so funny... She informed me no, I needed 101, as she wants one of them too!  Silly girl, Gramma will always have lots of hats for you, whatever makes you happy!

I feel okay now, I am up to 22 beanies.  I feel comfortable with my planning now... Thank you Lord for the rain, for the time to refocus, for the opportunity to listen Kirk's message.  It's been a great day!

A three hour tour...

Are you ready sweetie?
A three hour tour... Anyone else remember the theme song to Gilligan's Island?  It's pretty much sums up how yesterday started...

Just as the sun was rising hubby and I set out on a mini-adventure.  Breakfast at White Knight in St. Louis, and if you have never been... well you simply have to! It's an original greasy spoon, a small little piece of days gone by (it even played a role in the movie The White Palace with Susan Sarandon - but I have never seen it).  We had an amazing breakfast, lots of interesting conversations with the folks around us. How can you not when you can reach out and touch all of them?

Market Street at Sunrise
Then we were off... Wentzville here we come.  The folks that traded us the bike for the property discovered that in all the chaos (caused by she who will remain nameless) that I had forgotten to sign the title on the trailer.  So we agreed to meet in the middle... All together the entire trip should have taken us about three hours.

Note I said should have...

By the time we made it through all the construction zone's, the fake detour and me not being able to follow the GPS instructions we were a tad late getting there. And decided to take a different route home.  About a five hour different route. 

I was feeling a bit stressed, as I had a lot of work to do, hats to make, etc... but how can you feel stressed or regretful when stealing a bit of paradise?

Hubby and I stopped by to visit with the eldest and to get a hug and kiss from the grand-baby.  They were not home.  Since we were in the neighborhood, we decided to see if the youngest two were home.  On the way we took a detour or two through some neighborhoods.  In Kirkwood we went through their historic district.  Such beautiful homes from the 1800's... It was so peaceful!

Twin One was home, the Twin Two was working.  So we took Twin One out to lunch.  At the Applebee's her sister works at.  We got to spend quality time with both, they were slow at the restaurant - so both girls got to spend a minute or thirty with us.  All too soon, Twin Two had tables to seat, Twin One had to rush off to get ready for work and it was simply back to hubby and I and our blue bike.

Hubby loves thrift stores and noted one nearby, off we went.  It was a very nice store and we will be visiting again, but having found nothing that we could carry on the bike... 

After a quick stop to fuel up we started following a network of back roads.  I am not a fan of the highway,  especially when there are back roads to follow, highways bore me.  So sweet Hubby had a plan!  Zigzagging through St. Louis and the burbs was so much fun, the things you discover when you are putt, putting around....

At one intersection I saw a Merb's.  It's a local chocolate shop. I am always in search of the local equivalent of Sponge Candy (yep everyone at home knows what I am talking about) so in we went.  The molasses puffs are close, real close.  But definitely not the same!!

While we were shopping I was reminded in full why I cherish hubby and love him so much!  I am blessed to be married to a man with a heart like his.  We were goofing around and chatting with the young girl at the counter.  Hubby had just given her a piece of his peanut brittle to try (she'd never had it - WHAT??) when a woman with three small boys came in.

 Now hubby has never met a stranger and as we quickly found out, Gramma's money was tight, but her and those three boys had walked over to get some candy.  Hubby was surprised that here surrounded by all the wonderful fresh made treats, Gramma was buying generic supermarket kind of candy.  And he asked about it, that was how we knew. Being the big, sweet wonderful kid that he is, he asked if he could offer the kids a piece of candy.  The youngest two (they looked about 3 and 4) eagerly reached in.  Their smiles could not be contained! The older child probably 8 or 9, politely shook his head no.  Hubby asked him if he did not like chocolate and the little boy replied so sweetly no he did, but he didn't want to eat all hubby's candy.  That almost made me cry.  Being hubby, he rubbed his belly and assured the little guy that he was not missing any candy opportunities.  After being reassured that he was not taking away hubby's candy, he also took a piece and the look on his face was priceless.  We left them in the candy store and headed off.  As we were pulling out there were three little guys in flip flops and a gramma, getting ready to walk back to houses that looked a bit far to be a quick walk, waving and yelling thank you.  It was so amazing to witness. 

A short while later, I finally figured out where we were. Not being a St. Louis native and rarely traveling around in St. Louis, I often find myself turned around and not knowing where I am heading.

As we were pulling in front of the twins old middle school we were dumb struck.  Literally amazed by what we witnessed!  A family in South St. Louis had suffered horrific losses last week in a fire.  Only two members had survived. And here was an entire community gathering at a BBQ and walking along with buckets and M&M's to raise money for them.   The slow progression of the traffic was a blessing, it was caused by so many wanting to help.

They weren't even simply asking for money, they were giving something in exchange.  Didn't take a second for hubby and I to look through our pockets and make a donation to that young lady hurrying up and down the middle of the street.  We gave our donation and declined the M&M's (they are a bit anti-climatic after eating a piece of fresh made chocolate - and messy on the bike).  The next words... ah they were beautiful!  That bouncing young lady, with a bright big smile looked us straight in the eyes and said "God Bless You!" As we made our way past the school, regretting that we had eaten earlier in the day, we were blessed to see a line about a mile long waiting to buy some BBQ to support the two family members left.

It is so powerful to witness a community taking care of it's own.  I am not a fan of government handouts, never have been never will be.  So seeing a community and then some all lined up to help one of their own, standing in the hot sun on the even hotter asphalt for the opportunity to lend a helping hand.  To me that was beyond powerful! It made me feel that despite the horrible stuff that happens every day, that there is much good in this world and it is happening daily without fan fare and media coverage.  It is the silent, word of mouth kind of goodness that is holding our world together.

The Jefferson Barracks Bridge
A few more hours later we had shared candy with our neighbors and spent a few minutes or so visiting.  Then off to the Harley dealership so Hubby could drool over the 2014's and try to convince me to learn to ride (is he trying to kick me off his bike??)

The Mighty Mississippi is looking a bit low...
We finally made it home a full nine hours later (see what I mean about that three hour tour??)!  I had started to feel I wouldn't get what I needed to accomplished and my stress was starting to rise.  I wouldn't trade the day for anything, I loved every minute, I was just trying to figure out how to make the day last a bit longer.  I needed a 28 hour day.

I finally accomplished my goal.  Had time to spend with my son.  And even started my blog last night, but at one in the morning, I realized I was drifting to sleep more than I was writing.  And I gave up.  Today is a new day, today I will make more hats, tidy up and do laundry and of course find time to ride with hubby... there is a storm supposed to be heading in tonight, and I don't want to miss a minute...

Friday, September 6, 2013

It's a start...

It's a start!
Struggling to wake up this morning... Last night was short.  Hubby and I went into St. Louis at midnight to pick up the traveling man.  The train station is in a slightly iffy neighborhood, it isn't bad, but as it's in a semi-remote area in the center of downtown and near the metro link.  It has the potential for hoodlums to act up.

Luckily his train was early and we had just pulled into the parking spot when he arrived.

As I am not a nighttime person... today is going to be a struggle. And I would do it again tonight.

Sipping my coffee, watching hubby play with the boys, and planning ahead, I have a lot to do this weekend.

And fun I want to squeeze in around it all.

I finally committed to the craft fair.  I have a lot to get done in the next month! My goal is to have at least 100 hats, soaps, dish cloths, and maybe even a quilt ready for demo.  I also have a quilt that needs to be quilted, I have got to find time to get that done this weekend.  Then I have two hats to get finished, they were pre-ordered.  I won't be spending much time online.  I will be squeezing in a few scooter rides too.  I am not sure what prompted me to be so sure I could make this work, but I am going to give it my best and see what happens.

Gotta talk hubby into doing some yard work, and he has a few things he is going to do for the craft fair.

Gonna be hard to do with that awesome weather out there beckoning....

Thursday, September 5, 2013

learning to let go...

St. Louis Amtrak Station
It's so hard to watch your children grow up.  It's hard to stop being mommy.  Wanting to protect them.  I just watched my youngest board a train.  He's heading up to Chicago for an interview.  I struggled with it. 

I am so excited for him.  I am a bit of a Polly Anna and I am very optimistic for him. I want the best and I want him happy.  I know in my heart that he is going to do just fine.  Whether this ends up being the career path he follows or not it is an awesome journey to watch. He is still searching for that place that feels right, wow I hope he doesn't take after me and still be searching in his forty's....

I don't know why it was so hard to watch him walk down that hallway.  It's something I personally need to work on.  I felt guilty that he didn't have breakfast, worried that he'd had enough sleep, I was fretting about a million things.  I am extremely proud of him! I don't know why I worry.  I don't need to.

He's a grown man, he is stepping out into a bright future.  He's lived on his own for years.  He doesn't need his mom to be a mommy.  He needs a mom that has accepted that he has grown up. When I realize that at his age, I was a mom, had lived on two different continents as an adult, was struggling to pay bills and doing all those boring things, I feel like I am living in an alternate universe.  It is probably because in my mind I am still that woman... I haven't grown older...

I struggle with accepting he is grown.  It isn't his thing, it's mine.  He doesn't need me to nurture and coddle him, that is my "baggage".  I feel like I need it, I feel compelled to take care of him. I know that I am not going to stop mothering him, any more than I am ever going to be willing to stop mothering my oldest and she is a mom herself and has had more life experiences than I have.

Is it something that is genetically programmed?  I know I am not the only mom on the planet that is like this.  I just wonder. 

Here's the thing... I am very happy in my own life.  I love being my husband's wife and I really don't dwell in that world of being just a parent.  I enjoy being a grown up with grown up kids.  I love going off and doing fun stuff with hubby.  Having my own hobbies or career.  Yet I struggle the minute I feel they might need me. 

I am pretty sure that it is simply my need to be needed.  It was so painful when my girl started not needing me.  I felt lost to not speak to her daily.  To not be the one she called or leaned on.  And slowly I realized it felt great!  Not that I don't want her to call me (I still miss that).  But because she was in that place where she didn't need it, she was simply calling because she wanted to.  When the calls and visits were simply laughter and fun.  I felt needed, but in a completely different way.

With my youngest, I still haven't turned that corner.  I know I have a lot of guilt where he is concerned.  I need to let it go.  I know that I eventually will.  It felt a bit like I am starting to this morning.  I was so worried that he would be late for that train.  He doesn't know it, but I stood outside looking at the line of trains until I was sure he hadn't missed it.  Worried sick that I had caused him to be late.

I sent him a quick text from both hubby's and my phone (I had left mine at home).  At first I felt that familiar panic that I always feel when one of my kids doesn't respond right away.  And then... I felt that shift... I felt that change inside.  I heard the words coming out of my mouth, like they were some foreign entity, "he's a grown man, if he needed me he would have called"...

He doesn't need me to kiss his booboo's anymore, he doesn't need me to take care of him anymore.  He needs me to be supportive, to listen, to care about him, and to always be on his side.  I can do that! 

I am very proud of the wonderful, strong, and amazing adults my kids have become.  I love being their sideline team and support.  And I am okay with moving into this role...

but dang it sure is hard letting go...