Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Day 7 of 31 Days of Autumn

I accidentally stumbled across this blog post and I'm super excited about it! I LOVE photography but have no training. There are some great tips here! Check them out!


 Autumn Photography

Day 6 of 31 Days of Autumn

Shew! Posting daily is much harder than I thought it would be! The past two nights as soon as I got settled into bed I've remembered that I didn't post for that day! In my defense, I've been  under the weather, but yeah, well...weak defense. ;) LOL

I hope these beautiful photos and quotes inspire you today. 

“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face."

[The Autumnal]” 

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house."

[Notebook, Oct. 10, 1842]” 
― Nathaniel HawthorneThe American Notebooks

“Use what you have, use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter's deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world's oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white silence of winter.” 
― Shauna NiequistBittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Day 5 of 31 Days of Autumn

I did most of my trick or treating in the 1970's...and boy, was it fun! It was safe to walk without parents...it was safe to go to a stranger's house for candy...it was just...FUN! 

While we don't celebrate Halloween per se, we have let our young daughter trick or treat in our neighborhood and our church has a Truck or Treat. We have a great family oriented neighborhood and everyone make trick or treating fun for all the children. Folks set up fire pits in their drives (because it's ALWAYS freezing here by Oct. 31), some offer hot cider, etc. 

Our daughter has been talking about costumes for weeks now. She has it narrowed down to Belle, Rapunzel, Cinderella and one other. LOL We usually go the homemade route because store costumes are so expensive. This got me to thinking about the costumes I had as a kid. A few were homemade...I mean, if you were a kid in the 70's who didn't wear a white sheet and call yourself a ghost?? But the store bought costumes were SO special and So...uncomfortable! LOL The masks were horrible thin plastic! I had this costume:

Raggedy Ann Halloween Costume - wore when I was about 6.  We would get so hot with those masks on.

Good ole Raggedy Ann!

Another costume from the 70's:

Wasn't Cinderella creepy??

This was my costume two years in a row.

Does anyone remember Mrs. Beasley??

BEN COOPER: 1970s Mrs. Beasley Costume with Mask #Vintage #Toys

And John Travolta as Vinnie Barbarino! lol

John Travola / Vinnie Barbarino Halloween costume

Not sure why, but I miss the days of the Boxed Halloween Costume. LOL

Day 4 of 31 Days of Autumn Posts

A wonderful gathering of beautiful Fall projects!

12 Pumpkin Ideas from Sweets to Decor

Friday, October 3, 2014

Day 3 of 31 Days of Autumn Posts

Check out these super cute FREE Autumn printables! Printables are such a fun, easy way to add a touch of decor to your home and you can change it out seasonally or even monthly if you desire!

Get your home ready for Fall! Add a free printable or two to your home decor!

and more here:

Fall Printables

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Day 2 of 31 days of Autumn Posts

Thought I'd share a few photos I took last Autumn. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Raising a Mom

Parents, what have your children taught you? What do I mean, you ask?

Last night, as I tucked Ryleigh (age 6) into bed, she talked about what she wants to do when she grows up. She talked about staying home and raising her kids, etc. We talked about the jobs I've had and I said, "But raising a child has been my favorite job of all!" She replied, "Raising a mom is my favorite job right now." I chuckled...but it hit me how true that statement is.

 When you have your first child, you wish kids came with a manual, right? It's a beautiful, terrifying, wonderful, scary time.

Her statement humbled me. "Raising a mom." Wow.

My daughter has taught me patience. She's taught me that there is no skin color; that everyone is special. She's taught me humbleness, kindness and pure joy. She's taught me how to laugh again and how to not take myself so seriously. She's taught me that it's OK to be vulnerable.

She's taught me to lighten up in so many situations (It'll be OK, Mom!). She's taught me to forgive quickly and let it go. I mean, she can get punched by a school mate and then the next day, they're BFF's. While I nurse a grudge from, oh say...1987.

I thought my job of raising my daughter was difficult but I'd venture to say that her job of raising a Mom is much, much more difficult.

Eeeek! It's Autumn!! Day 1 of 31 Days of Autumn Posts

If you can't tell, Autumn is my most favorite season of all! I mean, what's not to like about autumn?? A few of my autumn favorites include:
  • The amazing blue skies we have in autumn
  • The sunny cooler days and the chilly nights
  • Leaves of red, orange and yellow! The landscape it truly a masterpiece!
  • Sweatshirts, bon fires, hay rides, 'punkin' patches...
  • I'm not a fan of apple cider but I do love the smell!
What are some of your favorite things about autumn? Is it your favorite season too? I think it's my favorite because of all the colors and because I don't tolerate summer's heat well and we get tons of snow in the winter. lol

For the month of October I'm going to post some of my favorite fall pix, craft ideas, recipes, etc. I hope you'll stick around and join me!

Follow these links for more posts about Autumn:
Day 2 of 31 Days of Autumn

Day 3 of 31 Days of Autumn

Day 4 of 31 Days of Autumn

Day 5 of 31 Days of Autumn

Day 6 of 31 Days of Autumn

Day 7 of 31 Days of Autumn

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ain't it funny how time slips away...

I have that song stuck in my head. LOL

What have I been up to since my last post? Existing. Healing.  Dreaming. Living. Longing. Worshiping.

Existing...Just 15 days after my last post, my Mom died unexpectedly. Her death made the 9th loss in our family since 2011, I think. It has all blurred together for me. Five days after Mom died, we lost another family member. We were still reeling from the deaths of my father-in-law and my grandpa...as well as all the other losses, that I (we) stopped living and started existing. It's a terrible, dark place to be. I recall not being able to pray...not even able to groan out my pain to God. I specifically member laying in my dark bedroom on my side...wanting to speak out a prayer and couldn't and in my mind and heart I "said", "Lord, please don't let me go. Just don't let me go." God knew right were I was and He met my need...a need that I couldn't even speak out loud. He didn't let me go. He held me tight. He wrapped His loving arms around my broken spirit, heart and mind. Over time, I was able to eek past existing and began...

Healing...Healing is such a painful process. It's confusing, scary, sometimes agonizing...other times some happiness sneaks in...followed by guilt.  By the time my Mom died, we'd lived here 3.5 years, I think. We'd never used our dining room as anything other than storage. Wall to wall, floor to ceiling storage. It was filled with the things of the loved ones we'd lost...Hubby's dad, his mom, his grandma, my grandpa, unpacked boxes from moving here...etc. Then, we just added Mom's stuff to it as well. This room of boxed up grief nearly consumed us. We tried several times to go through the boxes. The smell of my mom's apartment permeated her boxes of things and I found myself curled up in tears on the floor more often than not. But one day, I'd decided I was feeling stronger and began the task of going through things one. box. at. a. time. I can't recall how many weeks it took to empty out the "dining room" but with each empty box that I tossed I found just a little bit more healing as I reclaimed bits of my life back.

Dreaming...of a better day. Of a clean house and order in my home. Of a restored mind and heart. Of happiness. Of laughter. Of joy. Those things seemed out of reach for so long.

Living...I'll never forget the night I noticed a jet flying overhead and the stars twinkling. I used to love watching jets at night...wondering where they came from and where they were headed. Actually, I love watching them during the day as well. Traveling fascinates me. But when you're just existing, you don't notice the jets anymore. Or the stars twinkling. Or the scent of spring rain. Or the claps of thunder. Or your child needing extra time with you. Or a spouse that is struggling too. Or a car that hasn't had an oil change in 8000 miles. 8000 miles? Have a I traveled somewhere? Where did I go? Was I alone? Short term memory loss is devastating. But LIVING! Living creeps in, a little at a time. Yes, daughter, I have enough mental and physical energy to take you for ice cream. Yes, spouse, thank you for doing laundry all these months because without you, we wouldn't have clean clothing. I no longer stand in the kitchen and cry at the thought of simply deciding what to fix for supper. Then walking away hungry because I couldn't figure things out.

Longing...to be completely whole. See, when you just exist there's no energy to long for wholeness. There's no energy to long for healing. You don't care if there's clean clothes or groceries in the house. But after some healing comes and you start living again, clarity of mind allows you to start longing for what you've missed along this journey. I now long to help others through their grief. Sixteen days after my last post, I lay on my closet floor, grieving hard enough to want to die. I couldn't take any more loss. But now, I long for happy days. I long to spend time with my non-stop-talking little girl. I long to make new friends. I long to travel. I long to be in church and be involved. It feels good to long again.  "...As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God." Psalm 41:1 NLT

Worshiping...While I never stopped loving God through these years of loss, I also wasn't in a place of thankfulness for my trials. I'd lost appreciation for the Scripture that says "In ALL things, give thanks." (I Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.) I didn't see any blessing in my losses. I didn't see anything good about any of it at all. I wasn't thankful. Just keeping it real here. But on the other side of the existing, healing, dreaming, living and longing, I can see God's hand in my every day, my every moment, my very second of pain and grief. I rejoice that He answered the longing of my heart when my mind cried out, "Just don't let me go!". I can worship Him for bringing me through waters that nearly drowned me. Am I thankful for my losses? No. But I am very thankful for His sustaining power, for His strength to make it through, for those He allowed me to love for a time, for His Word that comforts, sustains, heals and helps me. 

So, in a nut shell, that's what I've been up to these past 20 months. Ain't it funny how time slips away?