First Kiss

I absolutely LOVE the Family Reunions in Nashville. Friends of Country Music get together, play music and sing… the best of the best.

It’s one of my favorite music videos to watch, one after another. Usually a Sunday afternoon, when I settle in for a nice nap, either before or after, I catch myself pulling youtube.com up on my phone and searching for my favorites. Always — Gene Watson — comes up. I fell in love as a teenager, listening to his music in Nashville around the swimming pool. He sang new songs, old songs. Any song…

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Grandma, Why?

My Nana said she and Mommy were best friends and they can be best friends again if Mommy will just call her and tell her she’s sorry. Mommy why won’t you call Nana?

My granddaughter had just climbed into her car seat and wasn’t buckled in yet. I could hear the breath, I knew her thoughts as if she were speaking them out loud, my daughter let the breath out slowly, fastening the car seat. She carefully fastened her in the car seat, closed the door and got into the front seat. Belted in and settled for the ride home, she took another long slow deep breath.

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Once Upon a Sisterhood

Sisters. The joy, the delight, the trials, and the trouble of growing up with a sister.  Sibling rivalry is a tough road to travel, but most sisters go there,  no matter how much they love each other. The fighting isn’t part of the plan, but it’s almost always part of the experience.

My sister is a talented woman. Our talents are the least of our problems, and I don’t think either of us lacks any confidence in that area of our lives. She’s got a particular style that carries through in anything she attempts, and I’ve got a very different style that carries through in my artistic ventures. Seldom do our skills overlap in any given area, although we both use some of the same mediums.

Tea with cream, please.The problems arise when others dare to meddle in our tea. Mind you, we both like our tea, quite differently prepared. I like my tea hot or cold, with lemon and honey or a little cream, and she prefers hers as coffee, black. We bicker and fight over inane subjects, topics that matter none at all, or worse… over misunderstandings, but no matter what, no matter when, no matter how, when push comes to shove… she’s still my sister.

Which reminds me of an old saying (probably from some 1950’s movie I’ve watched)…

Don’t you dare… pick on my sister, mister!

Living the Good Life

As provocative as it may sound, that suddenly took on new meaning over the past many hours. While I attempt to proceed in my life with some sort of understanding over the events of the past three weeks, the shock of realization brings to mind a commercial, where the strike phrase is… “I’ve looked over a lot of bodies and none of them have had an expiration date.”

Expiration, death, dark angels, end of life, all catch phrases for the same stupid awful change that comes after we’ve experienced the glory of God’s wonderful creation for a time, sometimes a short time… But for a time. With the beginning comes the end… I get that.

As my grandfather slipped away, those final years, I remember hearing him say, “I’m ready to meet Jesus.” The knowing that his days were numbered, and only God knew that number gave him a grace that is not totally uncommon. He never said he was comfortable with the process, just that he was ready for the end result. And, I know he wasn’t ready to leave Grandma. That was the catch 22 that left him holding on, those last few hours… The woman he’d loved for a lifetime, stood beside him, along with a daughter who had spent her life caring.

Those moments, on Christmas morning flew by in a flash. There were no long good byes. He’d had no warning. Life was there, then it was gone.

The next many years, Grandma missed him, but carried on without him. Her life filled up with times and places, people and things, but she never stopped longing for him. In those last weeks, I remember hearing her say, “I’m ready to meet Jesus. I miss Daddy (her nickname for Granddad), and it’s time to go home.” I knew she wasn’t talking about the rickety little house at 504 N. 11th. She had a better home, on a golden shore far away, where Granddad and Jesus were waiting for her. She was ready to go.

I heard the angels singing in that last sweet breath she took, as she drifted into the heavens and the arms of her true love. There was no greater joy or contentment on any woman’s face as she escaped the confines of earth and her tired body, and entered those Pearly Gates of Glory. Sweet blessed peace enveloped the room as the harps played out songs of welcome laced with the love of one of God’s children making her way into heaven.

Now, as an adult – I look back on those memories of childhood and young adulthood knowing that life has come full circle again. There may be no expiration date, but there’s a time to live…

The beating heart of another waits for that precious moment when she will see the face of God, hear heaven’s trumpet calling and witness the voice of angels singing and harps strumming out the delicate tremors of love’s embrace. Implications by Doctors are that they know when the time has come, but as one who has witnessed the passing of many – the realization that none here knows the time, nor the hour has become abundantly clear. The moment in time when each of us faces our maker isn’t set by a Doctor’s diagnosis, the rudimentary procedures of medicine, nor the educated guesses of those left behind.

As the treasures of earth part from the holdings, we begin to understand that life has no boundaries, there is no expiration date. Time does not draw nye unto the end of our road, but rather the passing of time becomes that of precious hours presumably living for the moment at which we will understand with great joy our passing into eternity.

Salvation and our walk with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit become the center of our existence and we understand that it’s not the hour, but rather the power that transforms us into His chosen. If we haven’t found His glory, in those final hours our search is bolder, more intense and stronger, but yet… also more sensitive to His voice and His calling. We hear Him, in those final hours – however long they may be.

We learn to love and forgive, understanding that we might not have another single moment in which to care, worry or share our feelings with others. We learn to live the good life, without further concern over the trials and struggles of life that have no longer any hold over us.

It means nothing, to know how much or how little is left of time or money. Only what’s held in our heart matters. The treasures we’ve laid up in heaven will be the only treasures that carry meaning in those last hours – hearts, lives and loved ones. The rest is left untended.

The search is on…

To know what is meant by living the good life. I don’t know how much I’ll be posting here, but it may be a lot of thoughts about the passing of time and the motion required to move from this life into the next. The joy of living the good life… .shared.

Shut the Borders, End the War, Bring Our Soldiers Home

Occasionally, I get on my soap box and tell everyone (who reads my blogs) what I think. It isn’t a big deal to anyone else, and actually, there’s a probably nobody with any real power reading these anyways, but you never know…

On those occasions when I really tire of hearing about how many soldiers gave their lives to save people who hate Americans, I just really want to tell someone who will listen and do something about it. Shut down the borders, end the war and bring our soldiers home. It doesn’t seem to matter how important the cause is, when the country doesn’t want our interference, they seem to say so loudly – at least through the mass media. The people don’t really want American soldiers rescuing them from themselves and their own stupid bad habits, they just want someone to kick around and beat up on while they continue living in third world existences.

I’m sorry for those who haven’t stood up for themselves and made the effort to become or remain a free country, but why are we fighting it for them, if they don’t want freedom?

Instead, our boys are “over there” fighting for what THEY don’t want, and meanwhile they’ve sent their pigeon here to rule over us, trash our nation and beat us into submission as a socialist country. Isn’t it time our boys came home to protect their own people from the terrorism that threatens? So, we close the borders and don’t let any more illegal immigrants cross them, until we can ship back those that are already here. Maybe we close the borders down long enough to send them all back? Is that a bad thing?

I’ve grown up with illegal immigrants surrounding me, knowing that their own people (those who came here legally) would rather send them home. The people who have earned the right to be here do NOT want illegal immigrants staying here in the states. They’d rather they be sent back. The legal immigrants came here following the laws, respecting the language and learning the culture, because they wanted the advantages of living in the United States. There ARE Advantages to being a citizen of the United States. There are many advantages.

So, why must we tolerate those who would take those advantages away from us?

Why can we not say, “If you want what we offer, come here legally, otherwise GO HOME.”

Again today, I felt the sting of an illegal immigrant ignoring the laws here, living without the rules and blessings and ignoring the importance of FREEDOM. More than just FREEDOM but the willingness to stand up and be counted in the fight to maintain our freedom, I realized there’s a stench out there, of people who don’t understand the importance of the American Flag and what it stands for. Those people have missed the concept of building a homeland where our children can grow up free and become whatever they choose to become.

Yes, I believe it’s time to bring our soldiers home and fight for what is truly important – FREEDOM and LIBERTY.

Coming Home After Vacation

The return home after vacation often includes counting pennies and making ends meet whether you want to or not. The deal breaker comes when you traveled on borrowed money. There’s the big kahoona that doesn’t quite fit. If you traveled on plastic, arriving home means you’ve got bills to pay and there’s no rest at all from your trip. You’ve got to get right back to work, moving toward payment of those cards, and saving up for another trip isn’t even a remote option.

So, what’s a girl to do…

Mom 4 Business - Mom's working from home Rock!

Toss the cards before the trip.

Yup, that’s the solution. Don’t use plastic. The agreement when we left was, we’re not using plastic unless it’s the last option – as in the VERY LAST OPTION – and it’s gotta be an absolute emergency before we pull out the plastic.

Well, we didn’t find any of those emergencies in our pocket. We had a great trip with no problems and financially – well, we arrived home with a little cash left over and no NEW debt. That’s thanks to great planning and the ability to pinch a nickel until the Indian screamed and the buffalo – er… well… you’ve probably heard it before. We did manage to get home with a few of those super pinched nickels.

Scentsy Candles by Sharon Arns

And on the way, we did a few other things… Like sell some ads on our home page here, to make a few extra bucks. If you’d be so kind as to click on these ads and buy something from the sites in order to help us pay for the trip NEXT year, we’d appreciate your assistance. If not, I just want you to know that we’ll still manage to go, because we know how to pinch those nickels.

The best part is, we found ways to earn on the trip. Which I’ll be talking about in the near future, because it’s really awesome information that you might be able to use too. I’ll probably even give you a tip or two before I quit today.

First off, I want to tell you… It was right back to work, before I even arrived home after vacation. There’s truly no rest for the wicked, and I’ve been told I was plenty ‘wicked’ as a child. I must have been, because there’s been no rest. Even on the trip, there wasn’t many hours of rest. I couldn’t get over how much work it is, just to drive across country. Although – it was a total blast of fun (and I’ll be sharing photos very soon).

Coffee Clatter

Our favorite stops included coffee shops along the way. From the iced coffees in Missouri to the hot espresso in Tennessee. Did you know that Tennessee coffee shops don’t have latte? Well, some may, but the back woods cafe where we had breakfast simply said, “We have hot coffee or cold coffee, you add the cream and sugar.” AHEM.

Definitely, check your coffee drinking etiquette before traveling.

Then there’s the sweet tea thang in the southern states. ER HERUMPH I prefer unsweetened tea, thank you. After all, when I add the sugar, I know how many calories I’m adding, but when you add it, my butt cheeks are at the mercy of your measuring cup. Have you ever noticed there are no calorie counts on those sweet tea cups?

But, then there’s the A&W Root Beer taps… Oh, my gosh, that stuff is good. Yeah, sweetie, I know it’s got more sugar than a cup of sweet tea, but heaven help me, I felt like a five year old dragging my tongue around the frozen edge of that root beer mug. Can I get a refill with a new frozen mug? Oh, wow! That was practically orgasmic pleasure. I’m tellin’ ya. It was better than the Orgasmic Mocha Brownies I used to crave. Gotta love Root Beer from a tap in a frozen mug. YUM.

So, if you’re wondering what happens on a vacation to Virginia Beach and back… um… just keep checking back, because I’ll be telling more and more details as the days go by… I really gotta get all the batteries charged and upload the pictures, soon.

Emotional Catch All – Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day captures the best of all modes, the Mommy Mode of existence in nurturing and uplifting children to their best. Nothing brings out the Mommy more readily than having a baby around to love. The simply care free attitude of parenting comes to a standstill when babies begin to cry.

On a recent afternoon, I noticed my youngest daughter stressing over the events of the day. Her husband had just gone off to war (boot camp – to be exact), and life hadn’t really treated her well over the past couple of days. She’d had a few extra struggles to deal with, but she’d handled them with all the grace of a growing young woman, learning to be the mom. Always the nurturer, she’d settled into mommy-hood with a simple style that brought even more grace to her life.

When the baby got fussy late in the afternoon, she wrapped him up in a blanket and left the room. A few moments later, I heard water running and the soft cooing of a mother in love with parenting. She’d settled him into the crook of her arm and nestled them both into a bath of warm water. At two months, his laughter was mere chuckles, but I could hear him chuckling as he enjoyed the bath.

Tatia and Kade
Tatia kisses Kade

His delight in the warm water of the bath brought back the emotions buried in time… As a single mom, you never have enough time to get everything done. I often would take my daughter with me into the shower, bathe her and myself quickly and have us both ready for the day in a matter of minutes.

Often we had just a few minutes to be out the door and off to my work, so dressing her became part of my morning routine. But those times when we could enjoy a nice warm bath, we just enjoyed each other.

Mother’s Day reminds us of the nurturing times, but also of the routine times.

An emotional catch all, Mother’s Day gives us an opportunity to grasp all that goes with Mother’s Day as we gather up the moments and bring them to the forefront of our memory. Whether it’s the moments that remind us of how much joy we get from our parents, or the ones that remind us of how much we wanted children, or even the ones that remind us that there are times when we should have joined the circus instead. When all the emotions flutter to the surface, we know there’s been joy, there’s been laughter and there’ve been tears. The emotion of the day will bring you all of the above and more, because there’s been love.

Collision Course with Futility

Looking back, I know there could have been a different outcome, but finality comes with the shadow of death. There’s no turning back, only looking back, and trying from this point forward to hear the sound of grace as human kindness take hold and bring about the changes of progress for the future. I’m sorry, probably doesn’t cut it, when the right thing can’t be done because it’s too late.

But, the wrong thing… nobody knew.

We can’t see the future. If we could, there would be many actions taken that would make a difference. That difference would sing, raising choruses to heaven, but we’re not designed for forward vision. We can only see what is now, and what is past.

Today’s lesson in living is to take that chance, on the outside opportunity that the relationship you may save will be your own, and tell the other side (that person who has appeared to be in conflict with you) that you’d like to know them better. The worst that can happen, if you reach out and make the attempt, is that you’ll get burned a bit by the temper of a person who isn’t willing to let you get to know them better. But, alternatively, the best that can happen is that you make a new friend.

Without intending to do so… I judged someone unfairly. I accepted a version of the truth and without intending to make judgment, allowed it to happen, accepting ‘defeat’ before I made the effort to make a friend. The cost is greater than any cost I’ve known before in my life, and  yet, I understand that God allows these lessons in life for a reason. I know the best of God’s love is yet to come, and I understand that He gives more knowledge to those He believes are ready.

Wisdom often comes from bad choices.

I pray I’m worthy of the wisdom I’ve received today…

I just thank God for bringing me a new friend and a different perspective. Life isn’t always the way we see it, sometimes there’s a different view. I must remember that and speak out when I question a seeming reality.

Each time I learn a lesson I realize I’ve been on a collision course with futility. The reality of God’s love is a tender wisdom that comes from the lessons we learn, a knowing that brings understanding to the hills we die upon. If we’d never known a failure, or lost a battle, we’d never know the value of success, the power to win, or the consequences of not listening to the still small voice of God. The perspective we view often gives us a vision that is less than perfect, only through listening to God’s still small voice can we hear the sound of grace or know the life of loving that brings with it the grateful glory of a God who sees all things and is all knowing.

As futile as this may be in this moment of time, I look back and know — I’ve heard God’s voice, and often ignored it. I pray in earnest, Lord… Speak louder next time. Amen

Rain drops on roses…

These are a few of my favorite things

Brown paper packages tied up with string – come to mind when I hear rain drops falling on the roof of my home. Nothing says autumn like the sweet aroma of autumn rain wafting through the windows as a cinnamon candle warms our morning. The maudlin combination of cloudy gray days, rain and baking aromas have long been standard in southeastern Colorado, since the days of pioneers gathering harvests. But with fewer and fewer of us taking time out to bake piles and stacks of yummy goodies in the face of high calorie counts and fat added to our backsides, the aroma of candles is a necessary evil.

I found one several years ago from Prairie Candles that smells just like Gramma’s apple pie baking in the oven. I’ve since added the sweet aroma of sugar cookies, pumpkin pie and any berry you may have found in the forest, my favorite being the mulberry. The point being more than decorator savvy or the gentle glow of candle light, I want the warmth of spicy goodness coming from my oven to encourage my senses. The aroma of spicy yummies was always enough to convince me to hurry through chores for dinner, now I know that delicate aroma isn’t dinner, but it reminds me of “getting things done” in time.

So, while you’re out dancing in the rain today, come up with a list of your favorite things to share over a piece of yummy apple pie aroma candle.

Family Values – Honor the Family

Jolts of reality struck me like lightning splintering the darkness.

Where did that come from? My thoughts rehashed the discussion of an earlier topic and landed square in the middle of a chat with my son-in-law about the values of family and how honoring heritage has created a distinctive void in current society. The implication of that statement is clouded by a downward directive. Is it only the foundational element of the family who has a right to expect honor?

In a family where alcoholism and greed provide a fundamental source of value a rejected child may feel the need to improve upon or compete with the chosen career of the parent who seems most normal. Or it may involve the child feeling a lack of position and self-confidence? Either way, the pertinent position of power is disrupted by a lack of “honor”.

Applied to current political realities these same words reek of insincerity and bleak renouncement of allegiances. A president who dares to apologize for his position, despite his status and power, the man, elected into office on the ignorance of youth and unskilled voters, disregards the heritage of freedom and liberty in an attempt to force compliance on people who reject social equity for the more realistic notion of equality. Is there justice in the daring acquisition of a position he didn’t deserve, has no right to hold and has disgraced so completely in such a short period of time?

When the implication of family values stands down the heritage of a nation, the fault of irrefutable justice lacks grounds and ceases to be of consequence. Justice in and of itself ceases to exist.

In the same realm of existence, family values cease to hold power when implied upon a fundamental foundation of alcoholism and greed. No matter how significantly applied, when a woman known to consume great amounts of alcohol is allowed continued access to a vehicle and encouraged to get behind the steering wheel, endangering the lives of others, her rights have diminished the right to life of those in her path.

So too, is the application of a president who has destroyed in his first hundred and fifty days the freedom and liberty of a nation. Although many of the laws he’s attempting to enact won’t be in appliance until after the next congressional/senatorial votes are applied, the attempts still exist. His disregard of the wishes of the American people have affected the future generations of this nation, and the world with a negative impact. Liberty is at stake. Are you willing to give it up?

Just as alcoholism and greed can destroy a family, presidential atrophy and insubordination can destroy a nation. Life as we know it is changing and without so much as a sigh, the change we didn’t want will have taken place before we can grasp the reality of our displaced freedoms and destroyed liberty.

Generational application of the lack of values changes the future, eradicates the past, and mutilates social justice. Are you ready to live with the mistakes?

There is an option.

Just as family values are built on the Biblical Principles of a Savior sent down from Heaven, the values of this nation are built on the fundamental principles described in the Constitution of the United States of America, a document founded on Biblical Principles. The American Experiment has succeeded, or at least until 1913 applications of Constitutional Amendments allowing dangerous changes to the foundational document it had succeeded. Even with those changes, the 5000 year leap had continued to improve lives, increase technology, and advance social application, until January 2009.