Sunday, May 31, 2009

My apologies

I have found the problem with a lot of help and it'll take some adjustments and changes to get things right again. I am anxious to be up and writing again. Please remember I'm here and I'll write again soon. I can still read your comments and follow all of you. Have a great week.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Having Technical difficulties

I'll write when I figure out what's going on with my blog. I think I've been flagged & I don't know why. Help. I can read your comments, but I can't get my regular composing page. Help

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Letterboxing Begins

I have just looked into an activity that some friends of ours have been doing for quite some time now. It's called Letterboxing. Here's a description from a Web site, and I quote,"Letterboxing is an intriguing 'treasure hunt' style outdoor activity. Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible places (like parks) and post clues to finding the box online on one of several Web sites...Individual letterboxes usually contain a log book, an often hand-carved rubber stamp and many contain an ink pad. Finders make an imprint of the letterbox's stamp on their personal log book, and leave an imprint of their personal stamp on the letterbox's logbook."

From what I understand the letterboxes can be easy or difficult to find and may require a little hiking or a lot of hiking. Since I thought our family should do some hiking this summer and we're out of shape, this activity might be fun.

This Friday we'll pick our trail name, purchase a notebook and rubber stamp and on Saturday morning our friends will show us how this works. I will try to get some pictures and post them with a story ASAP.

That's about it for today. Send prayers up that this adventure (which I don't usually do) will be fun and something our family will enjoy doing together. My husband doesn't know yet, so let's hope he'll go.

Please pray for my husband...he's got a job interview tomorrow (May 28th) in the morning. He has a job, but things aren't looking too good for that family owned company so hubby thinks it's time to move on before things get worse.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Foster Parenting

Well, I've got my mocha so I'm ready to write. My dear friend sent me a gift card for Starbucks for my birthday last month. That helps the budget. I love mocha's and I'd have one or two a day, but it doesn't feel right spending money on myself that much. I drink decaf in case you are wondering. So I digress.

I've heard three families mention foster parenting in the last week and it reminded me of my parents foster parenting in the 60's and 70's. Foster parenting is a gift that I do not have. Raising our two kids seems to be enough for us. I feel selfish, but I don't think I have the stuff it takes to open our home up for that challenge. I applaud foster parents for being able to let their love cover the needs of foster kids and their own (if they have them).

My experience is mixed. Our family started with teen boys which wasn't the easiest place for my folks to start. My older brother seemed to despise these guys he had to share his room with. They truly took an extra parental effort because there were problems at school, at church, with neighbors, you name it.

Next, we fostered a three year old boy. He had numerous problems, but my parents felt that our love could help this little guy so we adopted him when he was five years old. I thought it was neat at first because I thought he would change (I was nine). He needed lot's of counseling as the years progressed and he was in juvenile detention or prison off and on as he grew older.

They labeled him "incorrigible" and he was put on Ritaline ( couldn't find the spelling for this). You know the routine. My folks quickly took him off of that med. They decided "wild boy" was better than "zombie boy". Well, I am four years older than him, so he was just old enough to get under my skin and drive me crazy and he seemed to love that. We have a strained relationship to this day. It's sad, we just can't be around each other for too long before he gets under my skin.

The next age was infants.
Babies turned out to be so much fun and such an addition to our home. We all liked having the babies live with us. However, when my parents would consider adopting one, the paperwork from someone else would already be turned in and we never adopted a baby. It was sooooo hard to let the babies go. I remember a lot of tears around our house when a baby/ toddler was adopted out from our home. I think it became too emotional for my mom, especially if a child went back to it's biological parent and we knew it wouldn't be a good situation for the child based on our experiences with the little ones after a home visit.

The last child who lived with us was a six year old girl and she had major issues. She eventually went back to her biological mom. By this time my mom was fed up with the system and we retired. It was a valiant effort to help some kids, but for my folks it was too difficult in more than one way. I am proud of them for being foster parents for as long as they were. The experience was good in some ways and very difficult in other ways.

My prayers go out to foster parents and may God richly bless them for sharing their love with some kids who really need it. Don't be discouraged. God will help you through the challenges and you'll enjoy enough of the journey to make it worthwhile.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Small Town Stuff

I don't really come from a small town, but it's not like LA or NY that's for sure. Today, I was thinking about theater, baseball, fireworks displays & stuff like that. I think the small town stuff is so fun. Our farm team baseball games are smaller than pro games (of course) & I like it. Parking is easier, the stands (seats) are old and used to be wooden ( I haven't been there in a while so I don't know if they're still wooden) and I can see my old high school and what used to be called "tight wad hill" in the distance. The school sits on that hill now. I'll explain "tight wad hill" first. The people who didn't want to buy tickets sat up there. I think some hoped to catch a home run ball.

My grandpa would buy our tickets to the game around July 4th and there would be an awesome fireworks display after the game (very loud). We didn't sit on "tight wad hill" thank goodness.

So what I really want to talk about is small theaters. I have loved small town theater since I was a kid. Usually there are a lot of kids playing the characters. Some parents and some other adults are in every production. I went to the same production more than once many times. I saw "Jesus Christ, Superstar" several times. That isn't necessarily small town theater, but it would travel & appear in small venues. I also went to see "Gypsy" several times. I got away from visiting small theaters for awhile when I moved around a lot because of being associated with the military.

When the Navy took me to San Diego I met a friend with kids in a school for the performing arts and that was it...I was in heaven. I got to see performances a lot then and of course more than once. I volunteered with the choir group & got to know the kids better and I really enjoyed that. Now I enjoy college, high school and church performances.

My kids have even been involved in our church summer theater camp and I help out as much as I can. I see how much the kids learn in just eight days and I am amazed. The director and her staff have a gift that is an awesome thing to see in action.

I missed a lot of plays this year. I'm cutting back on spending so the entertainment fund for our family took a hit, but we'll fit a few in because it's character building and fun and necessary to do these things in spite of the economy.

I just realized I still call some of the actors by their character names when I see them in other plays because I don't remember their real names. Like "Doggie" and "Kittie" from "Jack and the Beanstalk. I'm a real groupie, I can't even remember their real names. Ha!

I won't turn my nose up at professional theater or ballgames though. My daughter and I had the privilege of receiving tickets from a friend who had two sick family members who couldn't go to see The Lion King. Oh my gosh! We loved it! My daughter didn't even ask to go out to the restroom like she usually does. We didn't even notice time passing. It was outstanding!!

I encourage you to try small town things once in a while if you haven't. It's fun! It's also good to support the arts and sports in any way we can. I enjoy the arts and sports even though I don't necessarily possess those talents I certainly enjoy being a consumer, spectator or observer. See you next post.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Birthday Parties

Aren't birthday parties fun? I just visited some blogs and there are pictures of birthday parties. The kids look like they're having so much fun. The cakes are so colorful and the games look crazy fun.

I remember and have videos and pictures from all of the parties we've had for our kids. We did pinatas, bubbles, treasure hunts, other games and of course the goody bags. To be honest it was stressful for me. I enjoyed it, but it was a lot of work.

My kids are 12 and almost 14 now and I've run out of energy to have parties at the house and the things they want to do now are expensive.

Last year my son and one friend went to a gaming place for about two hours and got to play the newest gaming boxes and experience the sounds and special effects they have with those chairs they sit in. Then we went to have some fast food.

My daughter had a party at the local laser gun place. That is what convinced me that we'll be giving them some money to do something with a friend or friends for their next birthday. The amount of money will be pre-decided and the child can find out what they want to do with it.

We even tried combining our daughter's party with her friends party. That wasn't too bad, but still expensive.

I'm back to one family birthday event for each kid. I really used to over do it and have three parties for each kid. One with each family and one with friends. It's hard to pack more than 10 people into our house and enjoy ourselves. If the weather is nice we can go outside, but that's not always an option around here.

I think it is important to celebrate our special day. God created us and that is so cool to me and it is worth celebrating. So the next party is in July and my son will be 14. That is special because he's going into high school next year (oh dear). He's also changing so much physically and the family has high expectations of him. He's a helper now and more independent. He'll still get some kind of a birthday event, but it's going to be on a much smaller scale.

Enjoy those birthday parties with those little ones and take lot's of pictures. Happy birthday to you whenever your special day is.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Internet Has Consumed Me

For someone who doesn't know much about computer use I sure spend a lot of time on mine.Those computer goo roos knew what they were doing when they made it so easy almost anyone could use one to a certain degree.

My parents (in their 80's) refuse to even consider using one. Our kids wonder how people could possibly live without using one. My husband builds them from old parts, updates, downloads, fixes, cleans and magically gets me out of most jams I get myself into. At least I think it's a jam. To him it's really nothing out of the ordinary.

I e-mail, play silly games & chat with friends & look at their mobile uploads all day long. I feel like I'm in touch and a part of something. I know of people who are homebound and on oxygen and the computer is their window to the world. I know I'd be on the computer all day if I was homebound. I am sort of homebound most of the day because I homeschool our kids and the computer helps me get away for a bit now and then throughout the day.

How did I ever find time for this when I don't have time for other things? I don't want to answer that on the grounds that it may incriminate me. Honestly, I like it and have squeezed it into my day quite comfortably.

So what happened next? I started a blog. Am I crazy? Well I actually enjoy the writing and it's an opportunity to share my stories uninterrupted. Did I say that out loud? Well it's true, how often do you get to tell a story or express your opinion without being interrupted? I won't know if you don't finish reading my story either. So it's all good. Your comments are appreciated and if you become a follower that actually reads my stuff,that is awesome.

As much as I may feel like a computer widow at times, I can understand the fascination with all that a computer can do. What did we ever do without them? (Don't answer that). When the power goes out, my husband will put one computer on the generator. We've got our priorities straight (Ha ha).

I hope this does something for you because it just gave me therapy. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Things Dad Made

Lately I've been thinking about the toys and play things my dad made when we were young. He made the usual tree house platform, the tire swing, basketball hoop and wagon. Once he and my brother made a huge ping pong table (it was chin high when I was 6 and I was fairly tall). He also took old roller skates, a wooden fruit box, and some wood and made a scooter. When the fruit box fell off, we had a skate board.

Another time he just put a short piece of 2 by 6 over a nice round piece of an old, cut off, tree limb. We could stand and balance on it. If we were good we could stand on it while rolling the tree limb back and forth underneath. But if you were me, you could take flight. While the pieces of wood went flying one way, I flew the other. I've still got the scars to prove it. Ouch!

However, the two play things I liked best were the pulley on a line from the house to the tree, and the kiddie pool on the patio. First I'll tell about the pulley line. Picture this, we lived in a three story house, the second story being the main floor so the back porch was about fifteen steps up from the patio. Dad strung a rope from the porch down to the apple tree across the patio.

He had an old pulley on the rope and some handle of some kind. We would stand on the porch railing, he'd give us the pulley handle and we'd jump off the railing and fly across the patio down to the apple tree. The bigger kids would stop before they got to the tree, but my little brother, some called him "peanut" for his small stature, didn't stop until he slammed into the apple tree limb. Ouch!! Poor kid.

We had a particularly hot summer (once, just kidding) when I was a kid and my dad built a kiddie pool on the patio with plastic tarps and my mom's quilting frame, and some bricks, I think. He rolled the tarps around the frame many times and somehow crossed the frames at the corners and propped them up on bricks. I was young so I'm not quite sure how he did it so it wouldn't leak, but he did. We filled it with water and played in it for quite awhile.

Dad warned us not to sit on the sides or it might fall and he wouldn't put it back up. Of course we eventually sat on the side or bumped it so the side fell down and gallons and gallons of water went across the patio and onto the lawn. We certainly had green grass after that.

So to all you dads out there, go ahead and build anything for your kids. It doesn't have to be new or from a kit. Use what you've got in the garage or shed. They'll love the hours of play they get from the toys and they'll remember them, and what you did, for a lifetime.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Many a Little Makes a Mickle

I was going to name this "A Stitch in Time Saves Nine", but when I looked it up it didn't quite fit what I want to share. Many a little makes a mickle fits better because a stitch in time saves nine has to do with patching holes in cloth before they get bigger, but the mickle one means "many small amounts accumulate to make a large amount". It comes from Scotland and the original word was actually muckle.

All that to say I admire women who can do needle work (quilting included), especially when they are hanging out or watching T.V. I think it's amazing that they can concentrate on the counting, thread strands needed, colors of thread, number of stitches, etc. I don't even have that patience and concentration. God bless them especially when I am the receiver of such fine pieces of art.

I have several framed works, some works made into pillows, of course the quilt my mom made for our wedding gift (thanks mom) and pieces that I've inherited. My grandmother knitted, crocheted, did cross stitch and even a little sewing. She did her part in teaching me how to crochet and knit, but it just didn't stick.

I look at the collection I have out (much of it is tucked away in my hope chest) and I think, "What will I do with it all when I redecorate some day?" I don't think it'll all fit in with the new look I'd like to have and I don't want to store it away in boxes in the attic. I thought of sewing them together, but I don't think that'll look too good. Then I thought of some kind of keepsake book for the smaller pieces. Maybe it'll end up being a combination of these, but I do want to keep every piece I have. Each means so much to me because they were handmade with love by someone in my life now or in the past.

Have I placed too much value or sentiment on these precious things? What will my loved ones do with them when I'm gone some day? At this point I guess it doesn't matter, I'm still here and the beloved handmade gifts I was given are still here so I think I'll enjoy them awhile longer.
God bless all of you who use your hands to painstakenly, one stitch at a time make a mickle and thanks for sharing them with me.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Share Something Important

Do you ever wonder what you should do or say while waiting in line at the store, pharmacy,Disneyland (I wish), airport, wherever? I usually keep to myself or talk about the weather, but what an opportunity to share something important. Something about God.

I've never thought about what I would say & I've never said, "Lord, help me to share with someone today." I know that I should be at least acting in a way that reflects Christ, but allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through me, I haven't really gone there while standing in line.

I stated my belief once at the post office, but I don't know if that counts. This woman in line, for some reason, decided to tell the rest of us "line standers" that you should never get your hair cut when there's a full moon because it grows back faster or something. She looked at me & I looked at the guy behind me, I guess he thought he was invisible because he wouldn't do anything, but stare off into wherever. I looked back & said, "I don't believe the moon has anything to do with it. God makes your hair grow."

She just turned around & kept rambling about the last time she got her haircut... blah, blah, blah and how you can save money on haircuts if you...blah, blah, blah. I looked at the guy behind me again staring off into wherever hoping for him to back me up or something, but nothing. Maybe this is why we should say something to the "line standers" that they can take with them and think about. Something that will benefit them or show them who God is.

I've been told if we open our mouth to speak the right words will come. Maybe I'll start with, "Hi, how are you doing today?" (pray) Then the words will or will not flow depending on what the Holy Spirit thinks the person needs. Maybe I will be the "listener" they needed that day.
Whatever the case may be I want to be sincere in my responses, body language & facial expressions. Your comments are gladly received. Please tell me your stories.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Garage Sale Days

Garage sales, some people love them, some people can do without them. I fall in the latter category. In the past I have held yard sales in our front yard & even though we live on a busy street we just haven't made much money. However, when our church hosts a parking lot sale on the very same street two blocks south they do very well.

Recently our church hosted one to raise money for our youth to go to camp this summer. I volunteered for four days, two of which were the actual sale. The first two we were sorting & hanging & organizing things. What a big job. We decided to accept donations rather than price everything so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

The two days of the sale turned out to be real good weather after raining all week long. This was encouraging. We started setting up at 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning for the 8:00a.m. start time. Buyers were coming at 7:15.

What I liked most about the sale was how generous people can be. Getting to know my fellow church goers was also fun. Toward the end of the second day we were quite goofy (stories to follow). Another fun thing was talking to the buyers.

I'll share about a young guy who has moved here from another country & he was setting up housekeeping so he was looking for cooking utensils. He carefully negotiated the tables of second hand gadgets & wares. Every so often he would summon me & ask what something was for & how to use it. He would say "Oh", or look confused & often he would smile hugely with beautiful white teeth showing. He would then point at it & say, "I'll take that", & walk on to look some more. A few minutes later he was summoning me again. He was very kind.

After a while he had a small suit case he had found in which he had placed several items. He came & asked how much he owed us. At that time of day we were packing things up to donate to the local thrift store (Lord bless those folks, I can't imagine unpacking, hanging, sorting & pricing that stuff everyday) so we were giving everything away.

I explained this to the young man & he insisted on donating. I hope he was blessed as much or more than I (we) were. He inquired about what time church was on Sunday morning and stated that he wanted to be there. I will be looking for him. At that, he picked up his little suitcase of kitchen treasures & began walking. I looked after him as he walked down the side of the road. No car, no bus, he was walking, all alone.

I chatted with different folks each day & people I knew were just out "garage saling" & stopped by not knowing I was a part of this one. So I caught up with an old friend & will be having coffee with a new friend & will be buying a mocha from my favorite Espresso stand as usual. It's just fun when things happen that way. No coincidence. God is in EVERYTHING & I love that about my savior.

Now on to the funny stuff. Late on the second day we were doing our folding, hanging, sorting, rearranging & usual organizing of the "stuff". At this point we were all pretty tired. One gal found a feau fur scarf thingy & wrapped it around her neck. She paraded around the area as we lost it in laughter. Then she jokingly complained about her hip going out on her. More laughter arose.

Next, the youth director put on womens clothing over his own clothes. These women's clothes were quite tight as you might imagine & I'll leave you to your imagination on how funny that was. Can you say "I laughed until I cried (peed)"? Just kidding, just kidding. At this point I think we may have scared off some of the buyers. My daughter even expressed how she was, "scarred for life" when he put on a sports bra & tried using some old exercise machine.

One of the youth guys created an outfit that reminded me of Minnie Pearl (dating myself, I know). He had on a huge straw hat with flowers on it (you know the kind we used to hang on the wall), a red rabbit's foot hanging from his glasses, a fur collar & various other silly things that created a roar of laughter from those looking on. As you may guess we had fun while we raised money.

So to all of you "garage salers" out there, your money & compliments & passing along the word of a great garage sale to your friends & family, is appreciated very much. And for the ones I met, I know I am blessed. I hope that they found the treasures they were looking for and felt good about helping kids go to camp.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

You're Only as Old as You Feel

After being a stay at home mom (SAHM) for 13 years and homeschooling our two children I am looking for work with the elderly again or in the school system. I had worked in a nursing home as an Activities Assistant for four years before I became a SAHM.

Thinking back on my employment at the nursing home, I remembered some days when residents would say how old they were or how they realized they were "really old now". I, in my 30's, would respond with, "You're only as old as you feel." I thought I was so wise & that this would cheer them up. Basically it shut them up. In retrospect I think, "What was I thinking?"

These elderly people were the wise ones. They had lived decades & had wisdom beyond my understanding. I imagine instead of going on to tell me what made them feel old, they, the wise ones, quietly sat & let me chatter on about the weather or whatever. Wise ones do a lot of listening, observing, reflecting and evaluating. That must be how they become so wise.

Well now that I'm closer to 100 than I was 15 years ago I am beginning to experience what it's like to feel "old". I know that I am too young to feel old and that all of these thoughts & feelings, aches & pains are just the tip of the iceburg. I almost feel unqualified to even begin talking about it. Being old & wise is something you earn & people respect you for your wisdom (well they used to) . People listen to your stories and want to hear more because it's all about how to live & heritage & legacies & history. Good stuff.

At this stage of "old" it seems like half the population (kids, teens & my husband ) will not listen to me, my eyes are getting worse by the week (I am in denial though & only wear glasses as needed-Ha ha), I can't hear a lot of things, I don't understand"the music these days" (like my folks used to say), the clothing available in stores for the young & restless is ridiculous, just about every part of my body hurts at one time or another & sometimes more parts at one time than at others, and on and on get the picture.

So what have I learned & why am I sharing this story? Let me think...maybe I should do more listening, observing, reflecting and evaluating? A good start, but mostly I know that I am only here on earth for a given amount of time. Earth isn't my permanent home, heaven is. In addition I have seen how others "live each day to it's fullest" & that is a goal I would like to attain. Then of course there's always exercise & eating healthy (there, I said it & it hurt).

It's been fun writing my first post. I plan to write as often as possible. Maybe I'll say something wise or interesting or encouraging that will lift your spirits for the day. That is what I really want to do & it does feel good to write again.