Posted in Faith, life, Writing

Desiderata “things desired”

I read the following poem on a stormy afternoon while lying in bed. The window was open and great gusts of wind carried in the smell of an approaching spring thunderstorm. Even as the sky darkened with ominous clouds, I felt at peace. A peace I wish you could know. A peace I wish everyone could know.

I happened upon this poem, not by chance I’m sure. It spoke so loudly to me, so clearly, as if it held all the answers.

I felt it needs to be shared.  It was written by Max Ehrmann in 1927, yet its words are timeless. Read it slow. Take it in. Roll it around in your mind. I personally plan to commit it to memory. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

Strive to be happy.

Angel

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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Posted in Animals

9 lives-1 life= a heart attack

Today I had a heart attack. It’s only an expression; thank goodness I did not have a literal heart attack. If you’re old enough to remember Sanford and Son you’ll know what I mean when I say  I thought it was “the big one”. My heart was beating so fast and fear had me in its claws so deep that I thought my heart was going to beat plumb out of my chest.

Before I began my tale, I should say this blog post needs to be filed in the “things I find under my hood” category—if only I had such a category. After today, I’m beginning to think I might need to create such a category. Usually the things found under a hood are mechanical in nature and not really worth talking about. Unless you’re me of course. Previously you might remember when I found the Rat Bastard and his nest under my hood with all his special possessions he’d hauled under there. Who knew I’d have 2 of these blog posts in as little as 3 months?!??? Well let’s get on with it, shall we?

About mid morning, I left our house with EK in tow in the back seat. She wanted to visit her Grandy across town.  We were driving along, eating gummy worms, talking about colors that match the seasons and looking for budding fruit trees. Our car was filled with smacking and conversation so I don’t know how long the noise had been happening before I actually heard it. By the time it reached my ears, it was of such magnitude and intensity it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It wasn’t the clankety clank of saddle straps being flapped around put there by a dirty Rat Bastard, but rather it was an ear splitting screech. A SCRAWWWWWLLLLLL. The screams of a mountain lion couldn’t compare to the noise. The sound of a woman being murdered in the woods couldn’t compare.

“What is that noise?” I asked out loud. EK quietened her incessant chatter just a beat or two for us to tune our ears. The sound was so loud. It was terrifying. It was obviously an animal in much distress. Not just any animal but a cat. As loud as it was, it was still a far off muffled sound of pain and agony. But it made no sense to me. Why would I be hearing a cat in distress while driving 30 mph down Duncan street? Then the realization hit me.

It was under the hood. There was a cat under my hood. I had driven at least 7 blocks with a cat under my hood. In the  2.78957856748 seconds it took me to pull over and put the car in park, my mind was a racing mess of scenarios. I popped the hood and stepped out of the car. The screech and the scrawl and the screams were so intensely crazy I was struck with a fear of what I was going to discover. I moved as quickly as I could, but of course when you are in the throes of panic and rushing to rescue something that needs rescuing, it seems to take forever. I put my hand under the hood, desperately searching for the latch that releases the hood. From the left to the right more to the left more to the right.  The whole while fearful of what I am about to discover. Will this by my cat Rocky Muffin? Is this a neighborhood cat? The cat obviously was still alive but in what kind of condition? Will it be mangled? Will it be limbless? Will there be blood spattered all over the roof of the hood of my yellow vehicle? Was I going to be able to stomach what I was about to discover?

I’m not mechanically minded a bit, but I’ve heard the stories of people who get caught up in tractors and lose their legs or those awful stories of kittens that spin around in the motors for a few seconds before there’s a thump and a wump and that’s the end of them.  Let’s just say, I was expecting nothing less.

My heart raced for forever, but I finally managed to find the hood release. I opened the hood to find, yes indeed, my very own Rocky Muffin squeezed between the hood and the black tubes and tangles of the underneath of the hood. Her fur was matted and wet on her back. I reached for her and she began to calm some. I took hold and pulled but couldn’t pull her out. Her foot seemed stuck in something, but after careful observation and a little more tugging, she had just deeply imbedded her claws into something holding on for dear life I assume. If I spring a leak later I’ll know she got a good puncture in some hose or some sort. She had all four limbs and a tail in tact, and the wet fur on her back must’ve been from the sweat and fear that had soaked through her skin. I’m sure I looked a bit odd to the passersby pulling a black cat out from under my hood. One truck began to slow, I’m uncertain as to why. Maybe to help out a damsel in distress or maybe to take a second look to see if his eyes were playing tricks on him.

I put RM in the car and she quietened down, hid under the seat, and rode to Grandy’s house in relieved silence. After depositing EK, I got RM back home where she received special treatment after such a traumatizing experience. She curled up on the bed and bathed and licked every bit of axle grease that may have touched her until she is a fine black sheen again. My teenage niece doesn’t even take baths as long as this cat bathed herself. I guess she found herself deserving of quite the pampering.

I’m not sure how many of her lives Rocky Muffin has squandered thus far, but today she certainly used up one of her nine.

And took a few years of my own along with it! Whew, isn’t life a fun adventure?

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Posted in Dear Diary

Holy Moly! Where Has the Time Gone?

It’s been three months since I’ve blogged. I am partly ashamed and partly surprised. I can’t believe it has been that long and at the same time I can’t believe I have neglected this little corner of my world so badly. I have never ever gone this long before. Needless to say, it has been a busy, hectic summer.
So what in the world has been going on with me?

I have not fallen off the ends of the earth, although I do have a new address. We made a move in the middle of June back home to the wide open spaces, glorious sunsets, and scalding hot summers of the Texas Panhandle. We had an enjoyable couple of years in Ruidoso, got more than spoiled with God’s beauty and mild temperatures, but it was just time to come home.

Boy, was moving a chore. Neither J-Dub nor myself recalled the move to New Mexico as trying, aggravating or long processed as the move back. It took quite a few trips and quite a lot of grit to get it done, but we finally arrived in one piece. After that heinous ordeal, and after searching for a solid four weeks for the iron, I decided that we had too much stuff. I mean, really. I read a little book called “The Magic Art of Tidying Up” and with that new knowledge I have released a lot of my possessions in a serious act of purging. I still have a ways to go, but I at least feel like I have a good handle on it, although we still can not park in the garage yet. All in due time my pretty, all in due time.

What else has happened? In order of events, here’s a quick run through.

1. I joined Stitch Fix! I was so excited to get my first fix, and had every intention of blogging about it, but then I saw the pictures. ACK! EEK! Couldn’t do it, but maybe next time, which is coming up very soon.

2. I spent way too much time and frustration attempting to get my Texas Driver’s License. I will never let it go again. No matter what. I am convinced the government makes things so difficult, that it is easier to just be an outlaw.
Angel the Kid.
Kinda has a nice ring to it.
Or not.

3. We inherited three ducks.

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The only thing I’ve learned about ducks….they’re not chickens.
And that’s pretty much all I have to say about that.

4. EK is as beautiful, smart, funny, and wonderful as ever. She’s had a summer full of growth. She’s learned how to tell a pretty mean knock-knock joke. She attended a Princess dance camp and was left by herself for the first time with “strangers”, and loved it and wanted to go back. She is getting braver all the time, not peeking out from behind her momma’s skirts as much as before. She went to VBS at church and loved it! She’s been riding horses with her daddy and I couldn’t be prouder of all that she is and all she is accomplishing.

5. I took a job. I think. There’s a bit of hang up with some paperwork, but I think it’s okay to announce it. It’s part-time at the Alternative School working with at-risk teen mothers in the homebound program. Yeah, it’s going to be so different from anything I’ve ever done. If emotions were candy, they would be a bag of Skittles. I have an emotion of every color surrounding this new adventure. Both professionally and personally. I can hardly wrap my mind around the change that this will bring in both me and our family dynamic. As we speak, I am officially finishing up my last week as a SAHM. In everything there is a season, and with the end of one, there is a process of grief for me. It was a good run and I am so thankful and blessed to have had the opportunity to spend these last three years with EK. There is so much I’m going to miss, but I won’t think about that now, I’ll think about that tomorrow.

Well sweet friends, the sun has set, the cicadas are humming and the world is peaceful here. Before I began blogging tonight, I had just finished a really great book “Eleanor and Park”, and I’m itching to open another one up before it gets too terribly late. It felt really good to write to you. I’ve missed it.

Until next time,
Angel

Posted in life

How Facebook Made Me Lose Ground

For the past six months I’ve been off of Facebook.  It has been with its ups and downs.  I’m sometimes out of the loop (not always a bad thing.)  I’m sometimes starved for interaction and attention by people who are over the age of three.  The longer I’ve gone, the easier it has gotten, but some days I miss it like I miss other things I’ve given up.  But missing something doesn’t always mean it was good for you and that you should invite it back in your life.  You can just miss it and that’s okay.

Yesterday evening my husband shared a thread with me on Facebook concerning the Superbowl Half time show.  The comments were entertaining and I felt a longing.  An absence.  A true loss for my friends and family that I rarely if ever talk to anymore.

“Maybe I should get back on,” I said. I tossed the idea around a little while and then before you know it, I logged back into my account.  “I’ll just lurk,” I said.  “No one has to know I’m here.”  Because after all, the addiction for me came with the attention I received from comments or status updates.  I was always wanting to check and see if I had a notification.  Had someone liked something?  Had someone commented?

I began my reintroduction to Facebook by reading my news feed; which was uneventful.  Then I jumped around to different people’s pages to see what they had going in their life.  One thing I saw would make me want to check out something else and I was reading and lurking to my heart’s content. It literally sucked probably two and a half hours of my evening from me.  Two and a half hours where I would be doing something else.  Something, quite frankly, that mattered.

The dishes didn’t get done.  My daughter didn’t get put to bed until way late and was hyped up like no other.  I didn’t write in my gratitude journal.  (something I’ve been diligent about) nor did I read my devotion.)  It seriously wrecked my evening.  I was out of sorts.  Yet I still told myself that it was harmless and I’d just keep my account activated anyway, and try to control it. I wouldn’t let it get out of hand.  I would only be a lurker.  For a while anyway.

Leaving the Facebook story, but I’ll be back:

For the past six weeks I’ve been really trying to retrain my thoughts.  There has been quite a bit of “stuff” going on in my life.  I have been sick since before Christmas and then the day after Christmas, Ashlynn was put in the hospital again, three hours away from home.  I was with her, which meant I was away from my family and it was brutal on me.

During this time, I became mad at God but needed something to help me.  I was feeling lots of toxic emotions that weren’t serving anyone.  I reacquainted myself with Louise Hay, a woman who has helped many with healing and positive philosophy.  If you’re not familiar with her, and are interested in what I’m about to say, I would recommend you look up her website or check out her book You Can Heal Your Life. Basically her ideas follow along with the Law of Attraction; simply what you think, say, and believe is what will be manifested in your life.  She teaches you how to become very aware of your thoughts and to notice how many times you berate yourself or are pessimistic or critical of yourself.   Something I was doing a lot.

A person thinks between 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day and usually they are the same ones over and over, day after day.  Instead of criticizing yourself:  I’m too fat.  I’m lazy.  I never finish what I start.  That will never happen for me.  I never have enough money etc, the idea is to change these negative affirmations to positive affirmations and your life will change, because the Universe will bring you what you say.

So I’ve been doing it y’all.  Diligently.   I tell myself I love myself everyday.  I approve of myself.  I am a capable person.   I speak positive things when I catch myself being negative or critical of myself or others.   My affirmations change daily because what I feel changes daily.  So sometimes I may repeat over and over “I deserve to be happy” and another day it may be “doors are opening for me”.

When I began,  I truly shocked myself by the amount of negative and critical thoughts that rolled through my mind; about myself and others. I can tell you that I believe it has helped me.  It has helped my self-esteem, my attitude, my level of contentment.  It has given me a new perspective.

After delving into Louise Hay, I then started exploring related teachers.  The next one being Wayne Dyer.  His teaching follows along with the same idea of what you put out into the Universe will come back to you, good or bad.   I happened to have his book as well.  From where it came, I do not know, which to me was just a sign that I am heading in the right direction.  The book I currently read of his is called Wisdom of the Ages.  It is a compilation of insightful and enlightened teachers from the history of the world and their writings.  People like Michelangelo, Francis of Assisi, Buddha and Jesus Christ.  It covers topics of the heart:  hope, meditation, wisdom, love and what these teachers from the past had to say about them that is still relevant to us today.

Now, before I go further I want to stop here and say for all those that are concerned about my soul and that I am on the road to hell, may I reassure you I’m okay. I am not lost.  I know that this post may sound a little “out there” and even my sister has gently encouraged me to not turn into a kook and get too weird.  I’m no longer mad at God.  The truth is I couldn’t NOT talk to him.  I love my Lord Jesus. But my spiritual walk is broadening, I like to believe.  I think there may be more out there than what I’ve been brought up to believe.  Not that the Bible is a lie.  No way. But that perhaps denominations have put their focus on rules rather than love.    Scriptures have been taken out of context and too much emphasis has been put on sin and repentance, rather than love and acceptance.  I believe the Bible speaks of the law of attraction as well. Ask and it shall be given, knock and the door shall be opened, seek and ye shall find.  The power of life and death is in the tongue.  You reap what you sow.

Louise Hay compares the process of changing our thoughts to seed planting.  That if you were to plant a tomato seed, you wouldn’t expect it to have tomatoes the next day.   It takes time and you have to tend it.  It’s the same with the thoughts.  Even if you don’t believe the thoughts at first, still say them. They are seeds you are planting. You can’t say a thought once, and fill the rest of your day with toxic thoughts and expect positive changes.   You expect a seed to produce good fruit, and in the same way, your positive thoughts will produce good results.  After planting the tomato seed, when the sprout comes up, you would never go to your garden and stomp on it, you are delighted with what has produced from the seed.  So when good things start happening in your life because of your positive affirmations, don’t stomp on them, don’t let doubt in by saying things like “I can’t believe that worked” or “this will never last”.   Continue in the manner and be grateful for what you have.

Now I return to my Facebook story: There are studies out there claiming Facebook can make us unhappy.  That is causes us to feel worse about ourselves and lowers our level of life satisfaction.  Although I’ve read these studies, I don’t know that I even believed them wholly until I experienced it first hand.

Last night, after I had spent hours wasting time reading about other people’s lives, I finally pulled myself out of the recliner and went to get ready for bed.  As I was changing into my gown, I looked at my body in the mirror and BAM, there was a negative thought.  I noticed it right away because during the last several weeks I have become very aware of the thoughts I have. Following that negative thought of my body image, my mind immediately thought of a picture I had seen on Facebook of someone I barely know doing something I think is remarkable. I immediately felt jealous of this person whom I barely know doing a remarkable thing, a thing I secretly want to do.  I am sure I felt jealousy earlier when I saw it initially, but was too busy scrolling to acknowledge my envy, although I did point it out to my husband.

And then…….to top it off after my negative thought of myself, and my jealousy thought of a practical stranger, I began to criticize her and compare her situation in life to my own.  My thoughts went something like this.  “Well, she’s not stuck at home all day with a 3-year-old.  She doesn’t have a job.  What does she do all day?  If I had the whole day to myself, I could accomplish so much more as well.”

Friends, all of this happened in a very short time.  It wasn’t something I dwelled upon.  In the amount of time it took to put a gown over my head, these thoughts had bombarded my brain.  Taken over.  Reigned supreme.  I went from self-hate, to envy, to criticizing others, to comparison.  None of which was beneficial to me.

“Whoa.” I thought.  This is unreal.  I really couldn’t believe that my time spent on Facebook after six months of not being on Facebook could derail my progress like it did.

After I realized the impact it had on me, I couldn’t deactivate my account fast enough. I am my own case study.  I’m not here to slam Facebook.  I know that it serves a good purpose much of the time, but for me, it is like a sip of whiskey to an alcoholic.  I just don’t want to go there again.  Not that I won’t ever, but I like myself better every day.  I love myself more every day.  And those around me. I miss my Facebook  friends.  I even miss the practical strangers.  But last night, I experienced something profound.   A true learning experience and I would be foolish not to pay attention.

Posted in Family, life

C’ est La Vie

Do you ever have moments in your life when you realize you don’t even know who the hell you are?  Maybe I’m the only one.  But sometimes, I can’t believe the way I behave or the thoughts in my head and I have to pause and say, where did that come from.  That’s not like you.

Case in point:  I’m sick.  I’ve been sick for a while and it’s beginning to get to me.  I’m convinced the house is filled with black mold and it’s slowly killing us all.  Google; it’s a wonderful thing and an awful thing.  Used to, back in my normal, younger years, I would have sucked it up and carried on my wayward son.  But now, it does nothing more than knock me on my butt.  I need chicken soup and NyQuil and two or three days to veg in my bed with tawdry romance novels.  But I’m a momma and an auntie and I have to carry on, despite it all. Back when I had sick days, I never took them.  Now I’d give anything to have a sick day.  You know?

If you don’t really know me, and you only read my blog, you probably think I suffer from clinical depression. My blogs are full of doom, despair, and agony on me.  But life isn’t interesting when it’s happy, is it?  I don’t suffer from clinical depression, it’s just that I like to blog when life is kicking me in the pants. Which is more often than not, seems like.  So maybe I do suffer from clinical depression. Or maybe it just helps me cope.  Complaining is the best medicine.  Or is that laughter?  I get confused.  Especially when I’m sick.  And blue.  And suffering from Clinical Depression.

It’s on days like these, when I want to fast forward life 20 years to see how this all turns out, that I have to remind myself that I’m just having a bad day or maybe a couple of bad days, but not a bad life.  Suck it up, butter cup.

So now that I’ve unloaded my warped mind and feelings on you, I’m feeling better, so let’s discuss a few important things:

1) For starters, remember when my EK loved her silver high heels?  That’s all she would wear.  Dresses and high heels.  One day, after months and months of dresses and silver high heels,  she just decided she was done with all that and would wear pants and shirts and shorts and tenny runners (what my dad would call them).  I thought she had retired the silver high heels.  Until today, when she woke up and decided she wanted to wear them.  With jeggings. And purple socks.  So we did.  Not a battle I’m willing to fight.

2) Speaking of fashion, when is chevron going to go out of style?  It’s probably one of those fashion things I’ve totally gotten wrong.  Like capris.  Twenty years ago or something, people started wearing capris.  You know, they used to be called knickers, then peddle pushers.  I looked down at my then Levi’s 517’s and thought to myself, ‘those peddle pushers are the stupidest looking things, and you won’t catch me dead in them’.  Famous last words.  My whole entire wardrobe consisted (consists) of them for years, maybe it still does.  Wishing I could put myself in some Levi’s nowadays.  Twenty some-odd years passes and suddenly we’re bombarded with chevron.  You know, it used to be called zig-zag.  I said to myself, ‘well, that’s cute, but it won’t last.  It’s a fad’. So I resisted. I own nothing in chevron, and yet it’s still every where I look.  Clothes, walls, furniture, floors.  Pretty soon, someone will paint their car with it.

Have you seen those cute little eyelashes people put on their Volkswagons?  You know, they used to be called slug bugs.  If I had a hippie van, I’d put eyelashes on it.  But I wouldn’t paint it chevron.  But daisies?  Now we’re talking.

3) I’ve been trying to edit a book that I wrote a year ago, and I’ve just decided it sucks.  I suck. And it was a stupid idea to ever think I could write anything life changing or even substantial.  I’m ready to give up on this dream of writing.  Maybe I’ll become a curmudgeon instead, it sounds like a better lifestyle choice and I think I’m more cut out for it instead.

Then I have to give myself a pep talk and say where did that come from?  That is not like you.  Then I get on Pinterest and get some inspiration and then I tell myself not to give up.  That I’m just having a bad day, not a bad life, and to carry on my wayward son.  Then I blog and tell you all my troubles and I feel much better.

4) Ash has started Driver’s Ed.  Yes, this is happening.  She also has a boyfriend.  That’s happening too.  And has had a car date (to a homecoming dance with another couple).  Part of me can’t believe she’s old enough for all this and then part of me is ready to marry her off so I can veg out in my bed for 3 days instead of chauffeuring her around and cooking supper every night.  Then I’m reminded I’ve still got 16 more years with this other one before I get to lie in bed with tawdry romance novels for days on end.

And yes, I hear you all…….Cherish this time, it will be gone before you know it, enjoy your children, you’re going to miss this.. Blah, blah, blah.  I hear ya, I hear ya.  I’m just having a bad day, not a bad life, okay?

5) I’m still off Facebook!  Yea me.  It’s been almost 2 months.  What have I missed?

6) Here’s a couple pictures of my lovelies, in case you’ve been missing them.

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And here’s a picture of me:

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Just having a bad day, not a bad life.

Posted in Family

Summer twenty thirteen

I’m such a slacker and I make myself so mad when I don’t blog regularly.  My thoughts and words are a bumbling rambling mess in my head which means the best approach to empty out  is with a list.

  • Today is the first official day of summer.  Here in Ruidoso, the weather is a dream come true to us.  We don’t even have air conditioning in our house and the highs are in the 80’s right now.  It gets a bit warm in the afternoon but not unbearable.  Especially if you’re laying around, which is pretty much what I do.  Despite the cooler temps, I still hate cooking in summer.  Blah!  Heck, I hate cooking in winter, spring, and fall too.  Who am I kidding.
  • My baby is a week away from 17 months old.  It doesn’t seem possible.  We did a practice run at potty training the other day, and well, let’s just say we need a lot more practice.  Within 45 minutes, we’d been through 5 pairs of training panties and a pair of sheets.  Laundry, laundry, laundry.
  • I lost a chicken the other day.  Another mystery in the art of poultry ranching.  My last black chicken was lying dead in the yard.  It could’ve been the dogs, but they’ve lived with the chickens for more than 2 years without killing one.  It could’ve been another chicken, it could’ve been a stroke.  It remains unexplainable.  Nevertheless, I’m down to only 4 chickens but still plenty of eggs and noone to give them too. You may be hearing me describe all the ways I can prepare eggs soon:  fried eggs, scrambled eggs, poached eggs, boiled eggs…..
  • EK talks like nobody’s business.  It’s not always decipherable by most, but me and daddy have it down pretty good.  Yesterday she woke up from her nap.  I asked her if she’d like a snack.  She ran to the pantry and said “m&m’s, chocolate, donuts”  in that order.  No worries that we’re raising a health nut here.
  • I’ve had a lot of people tell me over the years that I should write a book.  That is such a huge undertaking, but not out of the question.  I’d love to, but I’m not there yet.  So, I’ve taken a direction with my writing that comes as a bit of a surprise as I’ve been hired to write a little romance novella.  I’m actually going to get paid a small pence.  Haha!  It’s a bit ironic as I have as much romance in me as a white boy’s got dance moves, but with a little help from wine, I’m hoping to unleash my inner love starved heroine.
  • egg florentine, egg drop soup…….
  • We’ve finally found a church here that we’re enjoying and meeting new people.  I think the hardest part of moving is losing the familiarity of people.  But all in good time, all in good time.
  • J-Dub and I had an anniversary this month.  We celebrated 8 wonderful years and one really bad one.  Nah, I’m just kidding.   It’s not an easy thing, but it’s a good thing.   I hope to grow old with him and watch our grandchildren play in our front yard, feeling satisfied that we did our best.
  • egg custard, eggs benedict, egg salad…..
  • I’m currently reading 4 books, yes 4.  What the heck is wrong with me?  I’ve got a romance, because obviously I need some research in that department.  A book club book by Jodi Picoult, and Remember Ben Clayton.  Also Captivating another book club discussion.  So many books, so little time.
  • Currently I’m in love with a rack of dresses at Walmart.  Economically priced at $9.94 and in a myriad of colors, I am the proud owner of 3 so far.  I’m not usually a dress person, but you know what?  These don’t bind me up.  They flow, they’re loose, and airy.  It’s almost like wearing a gown all day and who can go wrong with that.
  • Life is good.  It really is.  I’m happy in this season of my life.  God is good to me, and His love is indescribable.   Sometimes I’m filled with so much love, I don’t know what to do.  I only hope that it overflows out of me and splashes onto others a little.

I enjoyed writing this little love letter to you, but supper doesn’t stop because it’s summer.

So I’m off to cook steak.

And eggs.

 

Love,

Angel

Posted in Faith, Family

List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could

This is question number 4 on my list of 30 things my kids should know about me.

What 10 things would I tell my 16 year old self.  Oh my.   I wish I could visit her.  Deep down I think she was sweet, but she was flirting much too often with rebellion, sowing wild oats, trying desperately to figure out her place in the world in which she lived and using way too much hairspray.

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I would sit her down if I could and somehow I would snap her out of her “I know all” attitude, and the idea that grown ups were dopes and I would tell her a thing or two.  1.  Starting off I’d tell her that doing bad things doesn’t make you look cool.  That smoking cigarettes, drinking, drugs, going to parties, breaking curfew, sneaking out, and hooking up with boys is not the way to make friends.  People don’t think good of you, and if they do, they’re not the people to be hanging around with.  Instead, it actually tarnishes you, steals from you, and makes you not like yourself either.  The people you are associating with now, you won’t be associating with in 10, 20 years, so stop trying to impress them.  Instead find a hobby.  Pick up a camera and capture the world and people around you, write a story—you have a beautiful imagination, do a good deed for your grandmother without her having to ask you.  That is what is cool.

2.  Then I’d let her know that she doesn’t know a thimbleful of what she thinks she does.  And the idea of needing to be pretty is from the world, which just so happens to have it all wrong.  But that the word of God says beauty fades and charm is deceiving but a woman who fears the Lord, she is to be praised, the Bible also says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.  So love the Lord, and gain wisdom for it is not  fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful.   No, your beauty should come from within you — the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God.  Work on that instead.  How awesome would it be instead of having “you’re so pretty, to a gorgeous girl, stay cool” written in your yearbook, what if instead it said, “you have a beautiful spirit, I appreciate your gentle soul”.

3.  Along with the world having it all wrong about how we look on the outside, don’t let society pressure you into the status quo.  In a couple of years, you’ll be reading the Lifestyle section of the local paper, and you’ll notice that your classmates will all be getting married, or so it will seem.  Then they will start families, and you’ll read the birth announcements.  You’ll feel jealousy.  You’ll feel disappointment.  And it doesn’t come from inside you, but only because you think that’s what the world expects from you:  to get married and have children.  But you are not in a competition with anyone.  This isn’t a race to see who can get married and have babies fastest.  Go at your own pace.  Don’t feel pressure to do what every other girl you’re age is doing.  Because, you know what?  A lot of those marriages won’t last, and so settle down about that and discover who you are and what you love to do, not who you need to be with.

4.  And while you’re out looking for a life mate, stay away from the bad boys.  I know you have a tendency to be attracted to them, but it’s merely physical.  Remember beauty fades, and charm is deceiving.  See those nerdy, geeky guys?  The ones you’ve rejected?  The ones you think aren’t “cool”?  Well, Angel baby they have their heads screwed on straight.  Find yourself a Jesus follower too.  Someone who will love you and be devoted to you in the way that Jesus loves you.  The long hair and tattoos may appeal to you now, but don’t be a fool for the long run.  Look past the outward appearance and look to the heart.  This will save you much heartbreak.

5.  You haven’t been many places away from your hometown and your daddy’s hometown.  But know this….there is a great big world out there.  Yes, it’s good to be close to family, but go explore the world while you’re young and able.  There are people to meet, cultures to experience, food to try, places to see.  Go do it.  Don’t think you need to be tied down to your hometown.  You can rise above your circumstances.  You can do all things with Christ.

6.  But while you’re out there seeing the world, don’t forget to appreciate the people in your life.  Spend time with your parents.  This time will pass quickly, and they really are remarkable people you’ll learn someday.  Write down your grandmother’s stories.  Write down your parents’ stories.  Write down your own stories.  I know you think you are young and you won’t forget, but you will.  Have your picture made with you parents and your grandmothers, your brothers and your sister.  Get to know them.  They are the ones who love you the most.  They are the ones who will help you when you need it.  They are who will support you in your dreams.  Tell them you love them, and it wouldn’t hurt to tell them thanks as well.

7.  Quit mooching and learn to do things for yourself.  You know, like your laundry!  And make your own bed!  Fix your own breakfast, stuff like that.  You aren’t a princess and you’re going to need to know how to do that kind of stuff very soon.  Quit taking advantage of other’s kindness.  Learn how to clean house.  Learn how to cook good food.  Spend some time in the kitchen, cook for others, make your grandmother’s bed instead of the other way around.  Ask people to show you things, learn from them, then you will have confidence in your abilities.   Learn from your elders and treat them right.  They know much more than you.

8.  Right now, Angel, you are young, you are pretty, you are resilient, and flexible, but you won’t always be young forever.  It will happen….your body will age.  Your knees will hurt, your joints will ache, your hair will gray, you’re going to get a real severe wrinkle right between your eyes from frowning so often.  So take care of your body while you still can and smile!  You only get one body, and it needs to last.  Treat it right.  Only put good things into it.  Give it rest, but work it hard so it doesn’t grow lazy.  Find a balance, strive to be healthy.

9.  It’s always good to have a nest egg.  Save money.  But don’t be greedy.  Again, find a balance.  No, that’s the world talking.  On second thought, be more generous.  You’re too stingy as it is.  If you see someone in need, help them.  You’ll reap what you sow.  It’s better to give than receive.  You’ll probably never be rich in wealth, but you’ll have what you need.  And it’s just money anyway.

10.  There will be hard times in your life.  At the time, you will think they are terrible times.  But you will look back on them years down the road, and they won’t seem so hard anymore.  Time passes quickly sister, so do good in the world.  Don’t be self-centered.  Don’t always think of yourself, how you can get ahead, how situations are going to affect you.   It’s hard not to, but truth is, it’s not about you.  The world doesn’t revolve around you.  Look around, see others, see their hardships, see their pain,  love them and I mean really love them…. with actions, not merely words.  Put others before yourself.  You won’t be a door mat if you do, you’ll be Christ-like and by doing so, you’ll not only bring Glory to God, but you’ll bring others to God through your actions.  For these three remain, faith,hope, and love and the greatest of these is love.

It’s a sweet life you live, Angel.  You have great rewards ahead of you, just you wait and see.  Enjoy it.  It’s much too short not to.