Friday, April 29, 2011

We need to slow this train down...

Running, running, running....we all seem to be moving at a break-neck pace trying to fit it all in, get it all done. The rat-race! Laundry to do, sweeper needs run, grass needs cut, bills need paid, baseball games, track, soccer, deadlines at work...blah, blah, blah!!! There's always more to do, not enough money to do it with and not nearly enough time to do it in. How often we put off doing what we WANT to do because there are so many things we NEED to do?! So often the things that get pushed to the back burner are the most important things...enjoying the company of friends, spending time talking with your children, having a relaxing glass of wine with your spouse. Why is that? It's so sad. We always feel so much better when we take the time for these soul renewing activities.

When we see the devastation of the tornados in the south we feel bad for the people and are aw struck by the devastation. But it feels like another news story. We (sadly) have become desensitized by all of the pictures and video we see on TV. The line between truth and fiction becomes blurred.

In blogland that line is very clear. The devastation and pictures and stories are very real. So many of our neighbors are hurting right and jobs destroyed, lives lost. Amy over at Homestead Revival has put up a post about some of her friends facing unfathomable crisis. Amy hosts a barn hop regularly and on Sunday I read this pretty post, sadly this is the post I read today about the very same family.

Life can change in an instant...TAKE THE TIME...FIND THE TIME...MAKE THE TIME!!!

A dear friend of mine wrote this "note" on her facebook, and with her permission, I would like to share it with you. It is long...but worth the read. God Bless Everyone!

I awoke on Saturday before Easter with an AGENDA. You all know what I am talking about. The AGENDA. The one that has a schedule to it and you are approaching it with the "do or die" attitude. Yep, it was that kind of agenda. I had even created the AGENDA on Friday after my Friday agenda got blown out of the water. Well, not really. I had a loosely made agenda for Friday. I was commited to completing a project for someone and really needed to complete it by Friday, so that took precedence over other tasks. My task that I had hoped to complete on Friday was the grocery store. Sounds simple enough but, you know how the grocery store is on the days before a major holiday. I had already waited in a long, long line on Thursday buying Easter candy at Gorant's. I was not looking forward to the grocery store. So, the plan was Friday: grocery store. Saturday: clean the house in the AM while hubby was at work. Then, complete last minute details for Sunday. No big gathering on Sunday planned, just all my kids, son in law, grandboys and perhaps my son's girlfriends. No stress.

Well, Friday did not work out how I had planned. After completing the very physically demanding project on Friday, I went home to get cleaned up and go to grocery store. It was 3:00 PM by then and I was exhausted. Let me add, that I was going on about four hours of bad sleep from the night before. So, laziness or procrastination took over and I put the grocery store off for Saturday. I rationalized, "how bad could it be?". This is when my resolve hardened and I formulated the AGENDA. I vowed to myself to get up early Saturday morning, get to the grocery store and get done before it got busy, go home, clean the house and be done by say 4:00 or so and have the rest of the day to kick back with the hubby. Good. Done. AGENDA in place. Resolve: firm.

Husband came home on Friday evening and as we ate dinner together he began to tell me about one of his patients at the Hospice House. Nothing unusual about this patient or him telling me about his day. As his story continued, he began to fill me in on how many things he and this patient had in common. The patient was a gentleman, eighty years old, or close to it, who had had a variety of interests all his life (anyone who knows my husband will attest to his never ending spirit of diving into "something new" ). This gentleman now lay at Hospice House, after what sounded like a long and full life, slowly approaching the end of his life, no longer really able to communicate other than an occasional monosyllable. All the details of this gentleman's life had been relayed to my husband by this gentleman's wife, who now stayed at his side basically day and night. My husband talked about this woman and how delightful she was, how very sharp mentally she still was, despite the fact that she herself, was approaching the eighty mark. My husband had said he found himself spending a lot of time talking to her and that he had, of course, told her about himself, and me, and our family. It is at this point that my AGENDA came under attack ! He said I didn't have to but, that it would be really nice if I would go to Hospice House on Saturday and visit with this woman. (He has asked that of me only on a very few occasions.) He said he thought I would thoroughly enjoy getting to know her a little and it would do her a great deal of good. I tried to hide my panic. I did, I tried to hide my internal struggle. How could I possibly comply with his request and still stay true to my AGENDA ? Well, I guess I didn't hide it too well because he sensed my hesitant answer and said, "It's ok. You don't have to if you don't want to." Ah ha ! my out ! However, I have never been good at saying "No" to him, especially, on something he seemed so touched by so, I think I begrudgingly mumbled a "Yea, ok, maybe tomorrow morning." Now what ? Okay, some adjusting of the AGENDA. I will get up early, really early. Like 7:00 AM, go directly to grocery store, stop by Hospice House for a few minutes (my thought process being that this woman is close to eighty so, probably, a little slow to respond, quick in and out to make hubby happy and I will be home free, AGENDA still intact).

Awoke Saturday morning at 8:00 AM. Not a good start. That's ok. Regroup. Stick to AGENDA. Got dressed and headed out. Adjust the AGENDA. Stop at Hospice House first and then grocery store. Driving. Thinking. You know, you should stop and get something for all the nurses and staff who are working this weekend. Ok. Quick drive to Gorant's for chocolate. Wait. Need soemthing to put candy in. Turn here. Go to Dollar General for some inexpensive Easter baskets to put candy in. Ok back in car. Over to Gorant's. Aaarrrghhh ! Long line again. Here, just do it. Two of these, four of these, etc. good, done. Wait in line. Checked out. Jump in car. Fix baskets complete with that stupid Easter grass which is now all over my car. Clean up later. Driving. Hospice House. OK, deep breath. This will take a few minutes and you will be back on task.

I walk in and search out my husband. He smiles, delighted to see me. Why does his smile still make me melt inside after all these years? Everyone greets me warmly. Nurses dive into chocolates. Good, they deserve to enjoy a small moment. Husband takes me back to kitchen staff who, just that morning, made him a delicious breakfast. I thank them for taking care of him for me. Feeling calm inside now. For a few moments, the AGENDA has slid slightly off the forefront of my mind. He walks me down the hall to the woman and her dying husband that I am there to meet and visit. Apprehension. This is going to be difficult and awkward. What do I say ? AGENDA pops back up. Just stay a few minutes. Make your husband happy and you will be done.

We walk into the quiet of the room. The patient lies peacefully in bed, unresponsive to my presence. His wife sits in a chair near his bed. Just what I expected. An older woman who looks at me somewhat cautiously. She's probably thinking, Great ! now who's this ? We are introduced and her face lights up. We begin to talk. Whoa ! this is not your typical "pushing eighty" individual. The conversation between us is lively! We talk, as all women do, about their husbands, their children,their grandchildren, their life's work, their Mom's, their pets (this couple also has a SharPei, and has owned one in the past ) and common ground is found in each of these subjects. Before I know it, I have spent close to an hour with her and would have probably sat longer had an aide not interrupted us. I got up and told her, in true sincerity, what a delight it had been to meet her. She hugged me and thanked me for visiting. I left the room feeling like I had made a new friend. I prayed that God would give her the strength to face the ordeal that lie ahead. Burying her partner of sixty years that she obviously, loved so much. I caught up with my husband in the hall. He saw all he had to see in my eyes. I told you, he said, she's amazing for her age, isn't she? He walked me to my car, kissed me. I was grateful for that kiss. We have shared many such kisses since he went to work at Hospice House. Both of us more grateful than ever, that for today, at this moment, we are not facing what the couple we just left are facing. Grateful to have precious time still left together.

I begin to drive away. I see him wave at me in my rearview mirror. I smile. By the end of the driveway, it returns ! The AGENDA. Oh my gosh ! It is 11:30 AM ! Ok. Regroup. Head directly to grocery store, this Agenda can still be salvaged.I drive with a vengeance toward the grocery store and decide at the last minute to stop by my daughter's house and see if there is anything we need for dinner tomorrow that I have not thought of. She is making the ham. Squeal to a stop in her drive. No one home. Ok. Back in car. Grocery store I want to go to, five minutes away. I turn the corner. Damn. I need to stop at my niece's house to pick up kolachi she made. Really? How bad do you want kolachi? Stop. She will be hurt if you don't and she makes the best kolachi you have ever tasted ! It will only take a second, then, on my way. I stop. She and her husband- to- be are delighted, as always, to see me. The talk turns to their upcoming summer wedding. Planning this wedding has been fraught with many issues. I want to leave but feel the need to listen to them and I give what I hope is some good advice. We talk for a good forty five minutes. As I leave, my niece leans in my window and kisses me on the cheek and says, "Thank You". A gift.

It is now 12:47. I cannot believe it ! I am starting to panic ! The AGENDA is getting angry at me and starting to send me into a full fledged panic. Must go. Must get this done. I head to the grocery store. I am approaching the turn to the main road. A text rom my daughter." I saw you around the corner at cousin's house, please come and see us." BIG SIGH ! OK, just stop quickly and go over detail's for dinner. You were going to do that anyway. Turn back, into their drive. Jump out. Go in house. Greeted by dogs. My oldest grandson, in his room, taking a nap. The new grandson, in his mother's arms. Son-in-law, folding laundry. Go over details and getting ready to leave. Good, Didn't even take my coat off ! I'm free. Hand on front door handle, getting ready to leave, when a small voice from the the bedroom is heard, "Up" "Up". It is my oldest grandson. I am dead in the water. Can't leave without seeing him. I take off my coat and go into kitchen to wash my hands. He comes tearing around the corner and hugs my legs. "Mimi" he says. I grab him up and hug him. He smiles. "Why aren't you asleep?" I ask. He says "Down". I put him down and he points to refrigerator. "Mick" "Mick". His version of "milk". Do you want Mimi to make you some warm milk? He smiles, "Peez". Ok, I reply. He then runs from the kitchen saying "Muse" Muse" and entreats me to follow. He takes me to his bedroom and points to a CD player. I am confused for a moment. Then it hits. "Would you like me to make you warm milk and rock you while we listen to our music?" The all to familiar "unh" that passes for his yes and the huge smile on his face and dancing glee in his eyes, gives me the answer that I expected.

Ever since he was born and I have watched him, he has let me rock him to sleep while we listen to soft, instrumental music. He is big now. Big for a two year old. According to the pediatrician, as big as an average three year old. I gather him up in my arms, complete with warm milk, a nice soft blanket, music playing. He faces away from me, his legs stretched out on top of mine that are resting on the ottoman that also rocks and we begin our ritual of drifting off to sleep.I stroke his hair for a few minutes. Milk is now gone. Set the cup on the floor. All the while never interrupting our gentle back and forth motion. His hands come up to either side of his face. Aaahh ! the sign. He's seconds from being sound asleep. I feel his little body completely relax. I note the slow deep beathing of his innocent sleep. I pause, giving him a few minutes to realy go deep alseep. I gently turn him over on his back in my arms and I stare down at his angelic little face. I get the same feeling every time I look at him like this. He is so beautiful, it hurts. I want the moment to last forever. I look at him and tell him I love him and though, he will never remember warm "mick" and "muse", I will take this memory to eternity with me. I gently place him in his crib, place the covers just so, as only a "Mimi" would do and quietly leave the room. His Dad laughs, "He doesn't let anyone rock him to sleep but you". It's "our" thing I guess.

I leave. It is now 3:30 PM Saturday afternoon. AGENDA has been stomped, shredded, burnt and buried. I am too tired to even fight to try and make it work. Oh well, off to grocery store to fight the craziness and wait in line forever just trying to get checked out. I am calm now. How can you rock a two year old to sleep and not be calm ? I enter the parking lot of grocery store and surprisingly enough, it is not too bad. I walk in with list in hand and miraculously, am out and headed back home in under an hour !

By 9:30 PM all tasks on the AGENDA have been completed. I am exhausted but manage to take a nice warm bath and play cards with my husband until almost midnight. As I lay in bed and drift towards sleep, I review the day. I wonder how many times in my life have I stuck to the all important AGENDA and missed out on all the great moments that I experienced today ? How many times do our lives get eaten up by the necessary tasks of everyday living and yet rob us of that which is most important. I ended my day with a simple prayer:

God, Thank you for gently tapping me on the head today and quietly saying, "Take it all in stride". There truly is a "time for every purpose" just like you said. Thank you for letting me make a new friend, connect with family, feel the love and trust of my grandchild.Thank you for all these precious gifts that I would have missed had you not used my inner voice to intercede in my AGENDA. Thank you for making me realize that while their are many times where we must commit our time to make our everyday lives on this earth work , that if we listen when you speak to us, that you will show us a glimpse of heaven."

I don't think I will ever make another list, schedule or all important agenda without thinking of this day and remembering just how precious time really is.

"and on the seventh day" He gave me another gift. He gave me a nap and a wonderful Easter evening surrounded by my husband, all my children, my grandsons, my son in law and my son's girlfriend. We ate good food, we laughed, we played cards and thoroughly enjoyed oursleves. The AGENDA? What agenda?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday...

The kids and I used to go do "stuff" together on a regular basis. Unfortunately as they have gotten older, and busier, we don't get to do as much as we used to. So we made a date for today...lunch and a movie. We had been wanting to go see Hop and thought today would be the perfect opportunity.

As they rolled out of bed (at 10am) I pushed them to get out the door and off we went. Because it's Good Friday and we observe Lent we decided to eat at the Olive Garden...salad, breadsticks and bruschetta...YUM! Then off to the movie...too bad I forgot my real camera and could only take a pic with my camera. Hop was good! It was certainly a children's movie but we really enjoyed it. The picture is of the jelly bean fountain in the candy factory...we want one!!!

If you get an opportunity you should go see it...I want to see Ringo next, yes I like animated films.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Do you know what today is?...

Everyone knows what Sunday is...Easter. But do you know what today is? It's Maundy Thursday! I'm sure many of you are still wondering what today is. Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper when Jesus shared the Passover meal with his disciples on the night before he was crucified. In contrast to joyful Easter celebrations when we worship ourresurrected Savior, Maundy Thursday services are typically more solemn occasions, marked by the shadow of Jesus' betrayal.

Before the Passover meal, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. By performing this lowly act of service, the Bible says in John 13:1 that Jesus "showed them the full extent of his love." By his example, Jesus demonstrated how we are to love one another through humble service. While I don't see any of us washing our neighbors feet I think we could do a much better job loving one another.

We can serve him better in small ways as well as big. From holding the door for a stranger to visiting someone in a nursing home. When your making dinner this week, double the recipe and take one to your neighbor, I guarantee they will smile and you will feel good. Bake a batch of cookies and send it to school with your child or grandchild, just because. Smile at the cashier and say "Hello"! It doesn't have to cost a lot or take much time, nor does it have to be a national holiday.

Celebrate the gift we are all Blessed with...LIFE!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Another book review...

TRUE COLORS by Kristin Hannah
A story about three sisters suffering loss at a young age and how they grow up and grow together. Full of twists and turns, love and heartache. Which sister will you see yourself in?

I love to read! Even when I was a kid I enjoyed reading. I would read the cereal box in the morning, shampoo bottles while I was on the pot (I know TMI - too much info), whatever I could get my hands on, I would read. I loved Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys, Gentle Ben and the Black Stallion when I was young. The Pilot's Wife, Emma's Gift and the Christmas Bus have been some great stories as I've grown.

When I walk into a book store (namely Barnes & Noble where I live) I get excited and calm at the same time. Stepping into a book allows me to step away from the challenges of living in the "real" world with responsibilities and bills. When I read I get a vision of what the people look like, what their surroundings are my mind I have a very clear picture as the story is being told.

Because I consider buying a book a luxury I usually shop the discount table. I don't have to be the first one to read it when it comes out! Just like I don't have to see a movie the day it's released...I can wait for the DVD.

When I picked up 'True Colors' I couldn't put it down. The author had me from the first chapter! This is a great book for any style of reader. It's fast moving and descriptive with great flow. The only down side...there is an end :-( I will miss Dallas and Vivi just like I miss all of the characters I've met in all of the good books over the years.

**I forgot to add...this is a beautifully bound book. When you remove the dust cover you are met with a lovely mauve color with silver embossing. Hey - I told you I love books!** 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A day in my life...

 The day started as most days do...put the coffee on, started hubby's car and fixed his lunch. Thought I would get a jump on my cleaning and take the S.O.S. pad into the shower with me to scrub the shower while I scrubbed my body. Strange...I know but I take multi-tasking VERY seriously!

As many of you know I own my own bookkeeping business and since yesterday was the last day of tax season (phew...thank goodness), I thought today would be a bit more relaxed. What was I thinking?!

I was at my computer browsing through blogs, enjoying my last cup of coffee, when I heard this horrible thudding sound coming from my fireplace chimney. My poor dog, who was also enjoying the laid back morning, jumped up and headed for the bedroom with her tail between her legs. I looked through the glass doors and didn't see anything, then the thudding started again. So as I'm staring into the fireplace and down plops a DUCK! what am I gonna do? Hubby is working a 12 hour shift and had band practice so he won't be home until late. Waiting for my 13 year old to help didn't seem like a good option. All I could envision was this soot covered duck flying around my house knocking things over. But I can't leave this poor creature in there all day looking so wide eyed and scared. Thankfully my neighbor came over to help. As I slowly opened the glass doors he leaned in and gently put a blanket over her and pulled her out.

I wanted to get a picture of her (of course). As I began to pull the blanket off of her head my neighbor suggested we might want to try this outside. That turned out to be EXCELLENT advice! Outside I pulled the blanket back revealing her bright eyes and smooth little head and as I was getting my camera ready, she wiggled free and flew like the wind. Sadly the only picture I got is of very poor quality but enough to offer proof that his story is indeed true!

Today is a day we have been's Chick Day!!! We added 10 babies to our flock today, including Araucanas, Black Giants and Light Brahmas. They are soooo cute! I love the little lady staring directly into the camera. This will bring the total to 17 chickens and 3 ducks (and before you none of these one's have been in the fireplace).

After a busy day of shower scrubbing, grocery getting, duck releasing and chick retrieval I decided to make lasagna for dinner. Easy to put together, easy for family members to heat up when they get home (at all different times tonight) and a yummy lunch for tomorrow.

Sadly this is not an abnormal day for me. OK...maybe the duck is a little abnormal. My 'to do' list is way to long and never gets done...but I'm NEVER bored!!! Every day is a gift and I can't wait to see what I unwrap tomorrow, but for now I'm going to go check on the chicks, put my jammies on and watch The Biggest Loser! Good Evening to you all....I promise I'm going to post more often....I PROMISE!

I am linking this up over at Homestead Revival's Barn Hop...take some time and check out some of the blogs, they are awesome!!!