08 December 2017

Upon Us

Thanksgiving turned out better than expected. Now all thoughts turn towards Christmas. We've already got 99% of the shopping done. Gotta love a man who hates crowds for that motivating 'get out there early' spirit! Since December seems to be flying by faster than ever I guess that was a good thing, because if you snap your eyes long enough Christmas will be upon us pretty soon!

My Florida kids put out our Christmas decorations while they were here at Thanksgiving. All except the tree. That tree is becoming a dilemma. See, we gave the kids our old antique tree after last Christmas so for the first time in umpteen years we have no tree to drag out of the attic.

Last year's Christmas tree
We were all set to chop a live tree down from the woods behind the house, but I hate killing a tree and am having trouble taking that leap. So we've been to all the normal fake tree outlets to look over the selections and tree prices are outrageous. After that we started visiting thrift stores. I have no fear in fixing up a used one. The one we had used to be mom's tree and it was beautiful by the time I got finished turning all the branches downward (like they had the weight of snow on them). I thought we'd found a decent one yesterday at a good cheap price. It had lights that didn't work to boot! But my tree connoisseur (the same one who wanted to shop early) didn't like it. So that hunt continues!

Meanwhile, while I sit in my Christmas inspired living room with the large empty corner I've started thinking that perhaps we don't even need a tree! Maybe tucking some cedar and hollie along the mantle piece and in other visible places would meet the need for green without it having to be vertical! After looking at some of the crazy alternative ideas on Pinterest (like pilling books into a tree shape) I'm starting to think outside my box a little. It's not like we have little kids and need to put a train set under the tannenbaum branches!

I don't know what we'll eventually end up with... maybe nothing, 'cause nothing is what I'm looking at right now. And I find that life goes on, even if Christmas is upon us.

21 November 2017

My Thoughts on Thanksgiving

It's finally here! Thanksgiving is in a matter of hours. I hope you think of it as something other than a day off with lots of food and plenty of football.

I think of it more as a seasonal thing rather than just a day. For the last couple of weeks it's been Thanksgiving already. We've been singing lots of praise songs at church ( I love "Count Your Blessings")! and hearing strong insightful messages on how and why we should be thankful. The why is easy... God is just so good to us each and every day,... even when we sometimes turn our backs on Him; even when we think we know better than He does. He watches over us and forgives us even when our own eyes tell us we aren't worth it. In His eyes we're always worth it. He is the author of second chances. We are so blessed.

The how is easy too... just think of all the things that God has given you and tell Him thank you. So simple. Just tell Him. Here are some ideas to think on to get you started:

There are so many things we are blessed with, that He has graciously given us for no other reason but that He loves us. From gorgeous sunrises and sunsets to enjoying a tiny hummingbird and looking him in his little tiny eye that God made. White fluffy clouds that mark the ceiling of our lives. Right now we're enjoying the beautiful Autumn foliage that God so thoughtfully created to provide us with an interesting dynamic background for our lives, that changes every 90 days or so. How did He ever think of that?! Anything in nature serves to remind us that we are so blessed.

Many new babies have been born recently and many more will surely come, each a masterful creation down to the feathery eyelashes and little bitty toenails. Even when they're not our own we are blessed just to see them, so tiny and perfect. What a loving God! We also have the older generations to be grateful for, with their years of experiences and much wisdom to impart (sometimes when we're not looking for any extra wisdom, lol). There is much to be cherished in our older friends and family that cannot be bought. We are simply blessed from cradle to grave.

Most of us enjoy fairly good to excellent health. My own could be a tad better if I had my way, but even if it's not so great we can usually look around and find someone who is worse off than we are. I know I have issues but I can still walk and talk, I have a good mind to think with, I can see and hear. I am so blessed.

We live in the greatest country in the world, and even with all it's problems I dare say most folks would not want to live elsewhere. I am so extraordinarily blessed that God chose to let me be born here. I'm sure I wouldn't survive the harshness of some of those other countries. My heart breaks for the women and children in war zones and those who live in 3rd world countries. Some don't even have clean water while we take it for granted and sometimes leave the tap running just because it's not cold enough for our liking. We are so blessed.

Family is a big blessing because it means we are not alone in this world. Whether it's the family we were born to or one that we chose to create for ourselves. I have both my own family. personal and extended as well as a church family filled with all my chosen sisters and brothers, parents and grandparents, and all the lovely kiddos who make up my little chosen cousins, nieces and nephews. It's wonderful being part of the family of God. I am so blessed to have both kinds of families!

Getting back to what to be thankful for means including thanks for God's love and saving grace. I love knowing I have a heavenly home waiting for me, that this is not all there is. I call it Hope. I am so blessed with hope and grateful that life is good because of God being the main part of it. I can't imagine waking up and not thinking about God each day. I am living a blessed life.

05 November 2017

Looking Forward

My recent follow-up with my back surgeon showed that my back is doing so well. Every time I go see him I'm always in a fantastic mood. For me, having the surgery was life-changing and I always want to thank him. I know he knows that he makes things happen for people, but I'm not sure if he really understands how his skills impact people on an every day, every moment basis. For this Thanksgiving I am most grateful to God for bringing this man into my life and for God's gracious healing!

Let's see... since my last post my church had a Fall Festival. It was pretty awesome, especially when you realize that it rained the entire day. That didn't stop much at all in the long run. Everything was moved indoors and folks, young and old, just plain had a ton of fun! I took my camera and took lots of photos (you can see on the church Facebook page). Because I'm still in wounded mode my participation was limited to creating fliers and posters and snagging pictures during the event.

Now we're looking forward to Thanksgiving. This year Hubster and I will host the T-Day dinner for the family. As luck would have it, my Florida kids will be here (so I think we'll have some pretty good helpers).

I'm most anxious for Christmas to roll around, not just because of all the church functions that I love, but because we're going to have a real cut from our woods Christmas tree. I wonder how soon we can bring one in the house? We've done this twice in the past: one time I used Miracle-Grow in the water and the tree lasted until August just sitting outside next to a storage building (the birds loved it). The last time we did this a ga-zillion itty-bitty spiders hatched and we had to vacuum all the presents as well as everything else near the tree.

I'm excited just because every new day is a new opportunity to 'get it right' and make someone happy; a new chance to improve, a new chance to know God better. Who can ask for more, right?

20 October 2017

Things Takes Time

It's been too boring to post anything. I still sit and lay around a lot while healing continues at a snail's pace. This morning we went to Walmart for a quick stop. I usually stay in the car crocheting while Hubster goes in, but the feisty got to me. Sad to say,  I couldn't believe how much my back was hurting before I could get back in the car! It makes me so sad; here I think I'm doing so well and then reality comes crashing down when I try to do something normal. So frustrating!!!

I've kept busy taking care of my Cabana Threads store and working on church stuff. Since I try not to stay on the computer too much (like the 10-14 hours I used to do each day) I now crochet way thoroughout most afternoons. I've continued to make a ton of tiny baby hats for preemies, but I really like doing those. You can read about my crochet life @ The Creative Life of LadieAnn (named for an ancestor child who lived only a few days. But for a long-ago entry in an antique Bible no one would have ever known she existed).

I can report that a couple of weeks ago the whole family (minus only my Son-in-law) met for a grand evening at Outback where we toasted and dined to celebrate Hubster's 70th birthday. Can you believe it? He really looks just about the same as when we married! Speaking of which, it was also our 26th anniversary since he wanted to marry on his birthday to avoid having another date to remember. What a guy!

Only about 9 weeks left before Christmas. I used to get into it, but ever since the kids left it's been downhill ever since, especially as my health declined. We gave our antique Christmas tree to one of my daughters last year after Christmas so I knew things would be different this time. We'd even planned to get a cedar out of the woods. Now I wonder if it will be worth the effort. Since I can't stand up long enough to do much perhaps I should be putting that tree up soon. I got a feeling it's gonna take a while to put lights on this year.


23 September 2017

Ugh! Reset!


Two weeks ago I discovered I'd been missing a critical update to Windows which left my computer vulnerable. It had been trying to update since July according to the string of failed notices. (This was during my recovery from surgery so I don't feel so bad for not having noticed sooner).

I researched for well over a week, finding I was not alone in this issue.  I tried every remedy suggested, but finally gave up and hit the reset button. While it saved all my personal files it deleted every app and program that I had ever added. Good grief.

This has been a sad time but also a time of refreshment. With a new Windows 10 in place I have a clean slate to work with. It was hard at first but I've held myself back from jumping head-long into reinstalling the missing programs. I've been doing so on an 'as needed' basis and find I really don't need everything I had before.

Of course the first thing I did was run the nasty updates and am happy to say that even the belligerent one was installed! I already had great backups online at two different sites (no, nothing you've probably heard of - I like lesser known sites). I also had the list provided for me with everything that was removed.

I was able to reinstall one of my favorite programs that quit working about the same time these updates quit. (Hmmm... connection mabye)? My computer is also running faster without the extra clutter and I'm starting to (almost) wish I'd done this sooner!

10 September 2017

Joy To Come

I've been out of commission again because I had knee surgery last week. Granted, it wasn't as bad as my back surgery in March, but adding an additional set of aches and pains hasn't helped. All in all, I've done pretty good, but it's been hard to use crutches for my knee when it pulls on my back which is still in the healing process too. Friday I saw my surgeon in my first follow-up who said I was doing great. Funny, I don't feel so great.

The timing to miss church again could have been better. I didn't think of stuff like that so much when scheduling. September starts a new church year so things are in transition. Not being there to input on some things caused a few moments of stress and even a desire to" toss in the towel" but God has a way of working things out in the long run. The first Sunday I missed God sent me an answer to prayer when my dear friend Andrew messaged to say he'd be in town and did I need any help. OMG Yes -- you can play the piano for me! Andrew plays circles around me any time and every time, but it was so sweet for him to offer and for God to arrange everything like He did! I know my church was blessed to have Andrew play instead of me!

Last night I did a test by going to church for a short music rehearsal. I can only say it was painful physically, but nice to be back otherwise. But it told me that I was getting too antsy about getting out again too quickly. Today I had to take a pain pill and missed church services, the deacon ordination and the annual church picnic. Talk about a bummer!

So many times lately I have thought of the line in the Bible about a "woman in travail." It shows up 13 times not counting several variations that appear. It is symbolic of going through difficult times and seeing a joyful result in the end. I feel like that woman and, like her, I hope that soon there will be joy at the end of all this pain and frustration and a new beginning for a better life to come.

17 August 2017

Resolve

I guess all that resolve I had to buckle down and post more consistently has gone out the window. Thinking about it does no good and I have many times over the last couple of weeks. I think perhaps it's because my life has been so mundane lately that there's really nothing to say. There have been no great events, no milestones, or superior accomplishments. But then again, has there ever been?

Right now I get up in the mornings and work on my Hawaiian shirt store. When my dogs start starring at me I take them outside and do my therapy exercises while they do their thing. Usually by lunch time I cut off my computer and move to the living room, where I eat lunch from a TV tray and watch court TV and then crochet the afternoon away. (It's been a real struggle to downsize from my former 14 hour shifts at the computer when I was in hard-core genealogist mode to just 6 or less).

Throw in a couple of doctor appointments just for good measure too! There's always something hurting, something that needs fixed.

Over the last couple of weeks I made 20 more crochet hats for babies to add to the pile from the Crochet Club. We delivered 126 hats yesterday morning for distribution at local hospitals. Most of these hats were for moms who lose their child. They are memorial hats; unfortunately I know they will be used and cherished. I'm glad I'm able to make something, small as it is, to help them through their tragedies.

This week the TV has been full of tragedy. I'm watching my country disintegrate before my eyes. As a former member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy I have a deep respect for the people who did at the time what they thought was right. Granted it turned out to be wrong, but it doesn't change the fact that my ancestors and others who participated were brave souls to go into the kind of battles that ruled the countryside in those days. With that said, I've now reached a point where I think monuments and history of the era should be placed in museums or as my cousin suggested, moved to preserved historic battlefield parks where people who wish to study history, good and bad, can still see what it was about if they so choose. I don't think it needs to be flaunted in public in this day and age, but simply collected and saved as part of the distant past that it is. It is no longer relevant to the 21st century but is just what it is - a reminder of what once was.

We cannot erase or change history. It's done. But reflections and actions spent today, dwelling on that past creates the new history of today that our children's children's children will remember of how we acted now. Will today's history be any better based on what I'm seeing on my television??

24 July 2017

It's Been Awesome

I can only say that after moving my store on eBay things have been just plain awesome! I've sold about 15 Hawaiian shirts since mid-June along with a few other items on the side. I've enjoyed a little 'negotiating' with folks making offers and I really find that rather fun. And to think I made 2 sales on eCrater, one in January and one in February and thought I was pretty lucky to get even that! It's too bad that eCrater has let itself slip into oblivion; I spent 8 years there and for 6 of those enjoyed good sales. The last 2 years I wasted, gasping for air like a fish out of water, waiting to be thrown back while waiting for a slow death. So I didn't quite reach that point (after all I did sell something there this year) but it was getting pretty close to nothing left. Anyway, I'm happy with the choices I've made and as I get more acclimated to the new ways of doing things I hope to have more success during the rest of this year.

I went to another follow-up with my back surgeon, who says I am doing very well (Thank you, Jesus), but I have to remind myself not to get too frisky just because I'm feeling better. There's still a lot of healing taking place internally, which will continue for up to 18 months. I only have about 14 months to go!

My church is gearing up for a new year starting in September. Folks are now volunteering for various jobs at church. I wish we had a few more piano players! And actually a drummer would be nice too. Our little group enjoys playing together each week. I sometimes look at it as therapy, just to get away a little while from all life's crazy moments and play a little music with like-minded friends.

I've always had a love of church music and especially hymns. I remember when we lived in the old 2-story farmhouse during winter I would go in the unheated room where the piano was, my coat, hat, and gloves on, to play from an old hymn book. I was somewhere between 7 and 11 years old and I'd yank my gloves off and play until I had to breath on my hands to warm them. There was this one song I played a million times, determined to conquer it -- "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus" was different from the one we usually sing. This was a heavy, marching song with so many challenges for a little girl with little fingers that couldn't span an octave! Most hymns don't span octaves, but this one sure did!
(Luckily it's in my current hymn book so I can keep practicing)

12 July 2017

An Encounter In Produce

I could see her coming. I had no clue who this sweet-looking slightly elderly little lady was, but she was making a bee-line towards me in Walmart last week. Apparently she had seen the bag of low sodium potato chips from across the produce section. As she started talking Hubster noticed me from the banana dept. and I gave him an "I don't know what's going on" shrug with raised eyebrows.

She was a heavy-set woman who, like me, walked with a bit of a limp. She didn't say who she was; just starting telling me that there was a house brand available for only $1.00 that was just as good as what I had selected. She said I could save money to boot. Then she offered to take me to them in the back of the store. On second thought she hollered back at the much slower me to stay where I was and she would bring some to me.

Of course I didn't stay put, but slowly padded my way up the aisle hoping to meet her on the way back and quickly end this strange encounter. She soon reappeared, her mission accomplished, and tossed a new bag of generic low salt chips in my cart. She even offered to take my bag back where it came from. "No, thank you - we'll be doing a taste test later" I said.

I learned her name was Sylvia and she then told me about a weekly Bible study on the book of Daniel that she'd just come from down the road at her church. They'd had their first meeting that morning and if I wanted to come I hadn't missed much. The invitation was so unexpected but so sweet. I thanked her and gave her a hug.

She said, "We've hugged now. I have to give you something" and proceeded to take off her black wrist band for me.

I pray for this bold kind lady, this Ms. Sylvia of Walmart, whenever I look at my new bracelet. She never asked me and I never said that I was already a saved Christian. I later thought perhaps she had wasted her time on me if her mission had been to share God with some lost soul because I already know Him. So I thought I'd share it here with you and whoever else may read my little story.

The message Sylvia passed to me is for anyone who doesn't already know God or maybe as a reminder to anyone who may have forgotten that He's waiting to hear from them. The message is ♥ God Loves You: He Always Has - He Always Will.

Upon Us

Thanksgiving turned out better than expected. Now all thoughts turn towards Christmas. We've already got 99% of the shopping done. Gotta...