Thursday, October 8, 2015

My mom died, But God has it under control

The day was Sept. 23rd. She struggled with COPD for decades. But still, we always joked she wouldn't die, she was too stubborn. But it finally got bad enough, she couldn't recover from it this time.
I struggled with our move from Tx last year. I was positive I did not want to leave Mt Pleasant. I was not a happy camper. My poor husband took the blunt of my discontentment. But in the last few weeks, I realized we were exactly in the place we needed to be. God had this under control all along!

First, when we first moved back to Florida, circumstances caused it so Mom had to live with us. Her health was poor, but living with us was not something she would have done voluntarily. She became my sole job. And I was ok with that.

One of the 1st people who welcomed us in North Port are 2 sets of couples. We met them at church, (another blessing). They had already walked the path of loosing a parent to a long illness. They could really say "I know what you are going through" I have found great support from them.

The hospice house (Tidewell Hospice, Englewood) was amazing. The staff there loved my mom like she was theirs. From the chef coming in, talking to mom and seeing what he could make her. To the nurse who knew mom liked Andrea Bocelli and bringing in a CD for mom to listen to it. (it was playing the night she died) And not only did they care for her, they cared for me and my family. Always asking what they could do to help us.

Lastly, my brother and his family were close. AND Stephany was my support. I couldn't have gone through it without her. She came with me to see mom in the hospital, then at the hospice house. She loved on mom the way I couldn't. She has a heart of gold.

So, maybe it hadn't been in MY plans or MY will. But I clearly see how things absolutely worked out. In the last couple of years, Mom would say 'I don't know why God won't just take me'.   Well, maybe she asked Him just that when she arrived. OR maybe she didn't. I am sure she was busy enjoying herself being in the presence of God. :)

I miss Mom. the house is quiet. The first few days, I swear I could hear her shuffle of slippers, the clicking of her walker, even her cough. Funny how some thing you once found annoying are now what you miss.

I hate clutter. I hate disorganization. Mom was a collector/hoarder. She has a LOT of stuff. Fred and I always said we would just load the truck and take it all to Goodwill. I have taken some. But I feel all of the family needs to have something of mom's to remember her by. This is important to me (and to mom). So, I have taken all her stuff and set it out. We have boxes everywhere.

And we aren't even talking about the boxes of papers and pictures. Those we will take our time looking through. Already, the little bit we have found has given us some insight on her that we never knew... It will get done. In time. I want to do it right. The last few days of mom's life, her biggest worry was the pictures and her dolls.  I assured her I would guard them with my life.

I am trying to make sure some of mom's things go to people who will truly enjoy/appreciate them. This takes time. And I am ok with that. See, God is teaching me to be ok. To understand I don't need to know all the details. I may have to wait to see the grand picture. Boy, that is not easy for me.

Another thing we have in the papers we have looked at so far. Mom journaled some. But so far, it looks like she mostly did it when she was unhappy. I guess it helped her put her frustrations and heart aches on paper. It was almost too much for me to hear the things she wrote. But I find that I also tend to journal when I am unhappy. I am going to change that. I need to make a concerted effort to write down the good things too. I don't want my family to go through my papers and think I was an unhappy person. I want them to see how blessed I was, how much I loved.

Fred kept saying to me that I needed to prepare for mom's death. He was worried how it was going to affect me. But I am actually doing ok. Much better than I thought. I have my moments. I still can't talk too much about her without getting teary. But for the most part, I am ok. Of course, then I feel guilty that maybe I shouldn't be ok... Oy!  

I loved my mother. Maybe there were more things that could have been done. But I truly feel I did the best that I could.  Sometimes I get caught in the 'should have, could have, what if' game. But I turn from it quick. It helps no one. Any guilt that creeps in is just a reminder to be better with the present. Love unconditionally to all God allows in our path.
 Another lesson He is teaching me.. Always learning.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble Proverbs 17:17

I saw on Facebook that they were celebrating an anniversary and wanted to make today officially 'Friend Day' on Facebook.  That got me thinking about how blessed I have been over my MANY years with friends. 
That, or the fact I am turning 50 in a couple of months, which has me in a reflective state lately. 

I actually used to keep track of the 'angels' God blessed me every year.  I have never really considered myself a 'materialistic' person. But all throughout my house are little gifts I have 
received from friends. They are a daily reminder of those special ladies. A lot of them, we served 
side by side in ministry. A few of them have been who I ran to when life was kicking my butt and 
I felt hopeless. Some of them, I haven't seen in years, probably won't see again. What I do know is that each and every one of their lives has touched mine in a way that has shaped/added to the woman I am today. 
                            So, friends, from me to you, much love and gratitude! 

I started collecting pictures, but soon realized there was probably not going to be an end to it. So, if I don't have something you think would have been here, please know, it is in my heart. :)

Let's start with my very first BEST Friend. Tammy (Dykes) Miller. On weekends, we would take turns sleeping at each other's house. Saturday mornings, we would listen to the top 40s and write them down. We would take a Stephen King book and take turns reading to each other. I love her!

Church Youth Group. A great place to make friends. I came in a little late, didn't start going to church till I was 16. And that is only thanks to the lady on the left, Jean (Gordon) Wiggins. 
She 'bugged' me every Friday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon about going to church with 
her until I finally said yes. :) 

This is a garbage bag wreath. My friend Katrina Porter and I would get together and make crafty things at Christmas time. And sometimes we included the kids! This wreath is about 20 yrs old. 

Our family left the church I accepted Christ, met and married my husband, had all 3 of my kids, and was involved in just about every ministry in the church. Even the janitorial 'ministry'! So going to a new church was not easy, but these ladies welcomed me with open arms.   God worked it so, as the Children's Director was leaving in a year, I was able to come in and learn the ropes under her. God's timing is perfect.... why do I always forget that? 

The Tale of the Three Trees. This was an adorable Children's program that I had the privilege to work with Vickie Mays on. Let's be real, I loved Children's Choir, but I know nothing about music. So I would always make sure to team up with people who are musically inclined. :) 
     And Vicki is so talented!

 Fred was a Sunday School teacher, and the class chipped in and gave us this beautiful painting for Christmas. We LOVED our class. Our friends were in that class. It was an amazingly thoughtful gift and I love stopping by to look at it even now, over 10 yrs after it was given.

I love this. I pretend it is me and the lady who gave it to me, Sheila Cannon. She is SO much like me, it is scary, lol.  She and her husband, Claude, were my 'angels' while I was the Children's Director at KABC. Their heart for kids was bigger than the moon. SO many adventures with this couple, 

Breakfast with friends. Don't know how it started, wait, I think I know. These 2 ladies, 
Cindy and Kim, would have breakfast together. One day I invited myself, and they let me! 
Cindy would drop of her kids at school, Kim would take a break from work and we would 
meet up at La Cubanita for some cuban coffee and toast. Yum! 

I have this framed picture on my desk. 
Becky Caddell is one of those ladies that I "ran" to when my world was stinky. But also, when life was good. Things worked out that our families blended well. We did most holidays together. Our kids even dated for a while.. AND we survived that! 
Remember the title of this blog? Proverbs 17:17. The Caddells fall under both categories. They are our friends, but they are also our family. Maybe not in the literal sense, but in the HEART sense. :)

(BTW, this is our feet after a tour of IKEA. We found a couple of lounge chairs to rest our feet!)

Another amazing woman and friend. Mike & Linda Stanco are another couple that just 'clicked' with me and Fred. Mike and Fred are very similar. They are both quiet mannered,patient, and Godly men. Linda is all of that, I am NOT. But, still, she puts up with me! She is my Spiritual mentor. Somehow, God always uses her to speak to me when I need it most. She is who I want to be like when I grow up. We don't get to see them much since they live in NC. We try to schedule our vacations in a way that includes them. Hoping to do that this Summer! 

You can find friends in family as well. Last year in February, I was in Florida helping Stephany with Keira, when my mom got very sick and was taken to the hospital. She had to be intubated because her breathing got so bad,  I was beside myself, so far away. My sister in law Rachel became "ME". 
She would go to the hospital every day, check on Mom and give me an update. EVERY DAY.
I don't know what I would have done without her. When we first moved to Tx, I began a love for birds. Rachel knew that and she would periodically give me gifts that reinforced that love. They decorate my little kitchen in Florida now. I look at them and remember what she did for me.

Another family member, who started out as a friend. Johnette Jones is married to Fred's cousin, Jimmy. They got married about a year or so before me and Fred. So they were the 'senior' couple. lol
We were even pregnant at the same time. Our kids are only a week apart. She and I worked in church ministry for upteen years together, mainly in children's ministry. 
Those years are packed full of the best of my memories. 

This group!!  My KidFirst Family. Again, I was new to Tx, didn't have any friends, and by God's perfect timing (again!) I was allowed to be a sub for one of the teachers who went on maternity leave. But then they couldn't get rid of me!  And let me tell you, it's not easy to put this many women working together and not have some bickering.  But we didn't. Really. We had the same passion 
and mission to love on the kids the way God loves us, there was no room for 'squabbles'. 
I miss them terribly. 

When I was in Florida during Keira's birth and subsequent medical problems with Stephany, I received this picture. Jennifer Tosh, the fearless leader of the group pictured above, sent it to me. Her heart is as big as Texas. I admire her and I am thankful for my time working with her.

These young'uns: Kristen Foley and Daley Warren. 
I had the privilege to have these 2 as my work partners for a couple of years. 
They are young, energetic, and silly. They made my heart happy. 

Now, we are back in Florida. Not where we used to live, further south. So it's a whole new start. Again. I have to remember God's Perfect Timing. He will bring me and 'angel' or two again. I thank God for Facebook. I can sorta connect with my friends, near and far. But it is still not the same, you know? 

 Lastly, this is Debbie Lombard.

I struggle with calling her my friend. I mean, she WAS at the time.. I thought... I was 14. She came from a family that was not like any I knew. She had 4 brother, 3 of them had different fathers. Her older 2 half brothers had already been in "Juvee". Drugs... She was 'fun'. I liked how she seemed to know what she wanted and went for it. And the fact that she wanted to be my friend, I felt lucky. But she is the girl your parents would forbid you to spend time with. That is why I would sneak out of the house to go hang at hers. Her mom would be out, partying herself. Debbie's house was stocked in booze and pot and pills, courtesy of her mom and her brothers. It was a 'dangerous' crew, which I guess it's why I found it so great. I was 14... 
Then, I found out that she broke into my house with her boyfriend and they made themselves comfortable for an afternoon. That kinda opened my eyes. I needed to stop that friendship. Not long after, she moved back with her dad, out of state. We stayed in touch for a while. But then, nothing. 

Have you ever heard the song "Can you reach my friend" by Debbie Boone? (it's a very old song)
You see, I don't think she had it so together. I now see she was SO lost. With reason.

I still think of Debbie and that song comes up. I wish I knew how to contact her. I wonder how her life turned out. I pray God intervened in her life. I would love to share with her how God has blessed mine. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cute little table

It has been SO long since I worked on a 'crafty' project. But now that we have made some space in the back room for my 'craft supplies', I am excited about getting going.

I bought this cute little table from someone for $5. I sanded it down using Fred's electric sander. That was a fun tool! lol


Then, I painted it with some paint we already had. It's a pretty sage green, my favorite color to decorate the house with.


I wasn't worried about putting on a complete coat of paint on it because I am going to use crackle effect.  I let it dry, then applied the crackle formula,

I let that dry overnight, only because it got late. 

But I guess since it was in the garage, there were some spots that were still 'tacky' when I applied the white paint, so there are a couple of 'messed up' spots. But, hey, I was going for the 'weathered' look, so it works!
And to make sure it was all dry this time, I stuck it in front of a fan for little while. 

I am really pleased with the look. And here is what I am using the little table for:

this wall area needed 'something' and I wanted a little space to put my jewelry. I made the cork hanger on the wall and the small frame on the table a while back for the jewelry. 

Now.... what new craft to work on ?? 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Giving Thanks 2013

DISCLAIMER:  December 1st started a giant whirlwind of events, I totally forgot to post my November Thanksgiving post... So here it is in January... :/

Again, folks on Facebook posted daily in November what they were thankful for. I posted the ones I did on here last year, and wanted to do it again for posterity. :)

DAY 1: I am thankful for being able to have windows open on this beautiful, crisp day!

DAY 2: I am thankful for a husband who works hard for his family, prays for us daily, and is constantly seeking for how he can 'engage in what the Lord is doing' around him.

DAY 3: I am thankful a church that shares Christ with others. A pastor who preaches the Word clearly and unashamed. A church family that makes this Florida girl feel at home. I really miss being there when I am unable to go.

DAY 4: I am thankful that God knows my future. In times when I have no idea what is going to happen, I know God is in control and I am going to be ok.

DAY 5: I am thankful for the ability to work with kids. Something I have been doing since I was 16. I have tried to 'veer off' and work with 'big people' but something always brings me back to Children's ministry. It makes my heart happy and I walk away every day with something new God has shown me through the kids

DAY 6: I am thankful for the rain. We have such hot, dry summers here. We pray for relief. God is faithful. It may not happen as soon as we like, but it happens. The sound of the rain outside is a sweet reminder of that

DAY 7: Thankful for my job at KidFirst. After nights like I had last night, going to work reminds me to let go of the stuff that brings me down and embrace the 'good stuff'. So I am going to go love and learn with some cuties.

DAY 8: Today I am thankful for my baby girl. Though she is 26 (almost 27!) and having a baby girl of her own, she will ALWAYS be my baby girl. The one who probably has given most of my grey hairs. A very talented, beautiful inside and out young woman, with a big heart, who has grown to be my close friend. We talk daily and that is ok with her. My life is definitely never boring with her in it and I would not trade that for the world.

DAY 9: I am thankful for 2nd chances. We lost Andy for a few months back in 2009. God allowed for healing to happen and we are a family again. Though he may not be the 'nicest' to me (he's such a smart aleck), I am so glad he is with us for now and we get to spend time together. 

DAY 10: I am thankful for my 4yr old Sunday School class. Bralyn, Elizabeth, Caydon, Bradon, Bailey. What a bunch of smart, cute, funny kids! I always leave class with a smile.

DAY 11: I am thankful for my 1st born. Though he had to endure the fact that his parents had no clue what to do since we were so young, I think he turned pretty good. He is a amazing young man who is a lot like his daddy. He will do anything to help out a friend. And his sense of humor always has me laughing. SO glad we get to see him this Friday!

DAY 12: I am thankful for friends who are willing to go out of their way and help me out with a ride, whether it's from the airport ( Tracie Johnson ) or getting to the shop for my car or a ride to work cuz the car is in the shop ( Terri Hammonds ) 

DAY 13: I am thankful for the organization Titus County Cares. They do SOO much good for the community. The people that VOLUNTEER there have such a heart for those in need. Not only their physical needs, but also their spiritual needs. Fred and I are so blessed to be able to work with them

DAY 14: Thankful that God is in control. (I may have used this already, but oh well)
When I have a day completely planned out and then life throws a wrench in it, all I can do is put my hands up and let Him drive. Not an easy task for me but a lesson He keeps teaching me

DAY 15: I am thankful for the opportunity to get together with great friends for the weekend. God has blessed us with couples that have become family. See you soon Colleen , StephenBecky and Tym Caddell !!!

DAY 16: I am thankful for living in an area where there are 'seasons'. I LOVE the colors on the trees this time of year, such a beautiful canvas of God's Creation.

DAY 17: I am thankful for the opportunity we've had to grow a garden. It has been a really fun, learning experience.

DAY 18: I am thankful for the fountain in my front yard. I sit in the living room and love the sound of it, very soothing. IT IS THE LITTLE THINGS 

DAY 19: I am thankful for good night's sleep. It doesn't come often enough, but grateful for when it does. It's going to be a great day, folks!

DAY 20: I am thankful the little things that make my heart happy throughout the day. Right now I hear the windchime in my back porch. Sounds pretty. In a few hours, I will be having my morning coffee with 'Almond Joy' creamer. Yummy goodness. Things that, in the middle of a day that may not be the greatest, helps you stop and think: It's all good. 

DAY 21: I am thankful for our home. A place where I find rest and safety. A place that I go to when the world is bugging me. A place I share with my best friend. A place where my kids can come to for shelter and comfort,if need be. Something not everyone not everyone is blessed with.

DAY 22: I am thankful for the ability to be able to go OUT to eat.. This has been a long week, getting home late and not able to fix dinner. And Fred said the most wonderful thing to me last night "want to go out for dinner?" YES

DAY 23: I am thankful that we have a fireplace. Didn't have an opportunity to have one in Florida and was very excited to find a house with one here.
Today is a wet and cold kinda day and the fireplace will feel really good!

DAY 24: I am thankful that Fred felt compelled to buy a generator years ago. It may come in handy the next couple of days!

DAY 25: I am thankful for the 'Other Nassars'. It makes my heart happy to see Fred and his brother together. (though they can be annoying, lol) I am glad we get to spend time with my Sis-in-Law and my favorite redhead, who is not so little anymore!

DAY 26: I am thankful to have had a little bit of 'girls night out' with these silly gals. Man, I am going to miss you!!  

DAY 27: I am thankful that ___ years ago today, God brought Rachel King Nassar. Hope she has a great day!

DAY 28: I am thankful for a wonderful day. There was collaboration in the kitchen, mom came over and had a nice time, and got to visit with the other Nassars for a bit. 
Life was good today 

DAY 29: I am thankful for Facebook. Not only to keep up with 'old' friends all over the place, but to have a place where I can be entertained by funny people, inspired by wise people (some beyond their years!) challenged to be a better person, reminded of God's Grace, informed of events and things going on here and around the world. It's a fun place to be!

DAY 30: I am thankful for the life God has given me. I can look back at my 48 yrs and see His Hand in all the things I have gone through. Some good, some Great, some not so good, so REALLY bad. He is continually teaching me, molding me, never giving up on me. And for that I am very grateful

Thursday, September 12, 2013

GrandParents Day

I have 'graduated' !  I now work with 2 year olds. And the best part is that most of the kids are the ones I had in the baby room last year. I love my babies! :)

Grandparents Day was last Sunday. So this past Tuesday, our school had a reception for the Grands and kids. We love having the grandparents visit. They are such a vital part of our kids' lives.

Below is a picture of the craft we made with the kids as a gift. We think it turned out quite cute!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day crafts

I work with babies-2 year olds at KidFirst. I absolutely love those babies and the ladies I work with.    On Tuesday, we will be celebrating Moms, and we have been working on a gift for them.

When it comes to Mother's Day gifts, I really think it needs to be made by the kids, not me....But since we are working with little ones, we are kinda limited to 'handprints' crafts. Now, some of our kids HATE to get stuff on their hands, so it'snot really easy to get their handprints done.

We can, however, hold their hands in place to get a trace of them. So I decided on a handprint craft where the kids can still have an active part in making it for their mom. :)

I got some canvas, contact paper, and paint. We traced their hands on the contact paper, attached the handprint to the canvas, then let the kids finger paint the canvas. Again, some of the kids were not thrilled to get their hands messy, but we survived through it!  lol

Once they covered the whole canvas with paint,
 I took off the contact paper and we are left with a white handprint. 

As you can see, we have a lot of babies! hehe 

Once the paint dried, I went back and used a silver Sharpie and traced out the hands,
 wrote the kids' names and 2013. 

One of my kids' paint slipped under the contact paper and the handprint was a bit smeared. 
So I decided to fill the hand with the silver sharpie. It looks ok.

We have a couple of really little ones, so we made their footprint on tile.
 I have always wanted to do that! :)

Once they were all dried, I sprayed Shelac to seal the canvas and tile. 

I really liked how they turned out, so I decided to do that same thing with my 3 yr olds Sunday School class.
But since I waited till last minute with that decision, Walmart ran out of the 8x10 canvas, 
so I had to get 11x14 size. AND since it was bigger, I felt their little hands would get lost in the canvas. 
SO I decided to do BOTH hands and add a heart. 

I also had a couple of the kids in class who had siblings, so I thought, why not! 
I added them to the canvas as well.
This is a 3 yr old and his 6 yr old sister. 
This is my favorite little 3 yr old and his 4 yr old sister and his 7 yr old brother! 

All in all, I think they turned out really cute and I think the moms are going to like them. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Easter Wreath

Again, I have been wanting to make an Easter wreath since last year... I bought a bunch of plastic eggs, thinking about changing them, either by paint or fabric, so they don't "look" plastic.

But then I changed my mind. :) 
I like the flowers and the little duck. 
You can't read it, but the little sign under the duck says "welcome spring"

This one is very simple. And after next week, I am going to take off the egg and pink flowers and add some pretty sunflowers I got at Hobby Lobby. 
This wreath should last until I change it to the red,white,blue one I want to hang in May. 
Of course, need to make that one... hehehe