Friday, April 28, 2023

Simple Days.....

 I start tonight's journal entry with this art work on iron I did a long time ago.

A welder friend cut this out - two of them - one for me and one for him.
It's my version of The Last Ride......

I asked my son Jesse if he would like to have this piece and he said yes!
It's really heavy and I am glad it will have a new home where it will be displayed.

I never signed or dated this but I believe I painted it in the 1990's.

Wednesday night we meant to go watch the Bell Girls play a hockey game.....
but this crazy April weather kept us home instead.

Thursday we had another opportunity to see Harrison play and this time it worked out!

"I don't like being COLD!" 
I've heard him say that at least a thousand times.
Amber heard him, turned around and bundled him up like a burrito!!

It was an exciting game and we got to see Harrison make several goals!

He stopped to smile for MeeMaw!!!

We rode to the game with Amber and went back to have dinner with them.

She is an excellent cook and I ate every single bite!
I can't remember the last time I ate an entire steak!
There were NO leftovers!
Amber cooked up 5 pounds of potatoes to mash and they were GONE!!
I think she managed to save enough for Mike when he got home from a late night hockey game of his own!

We had the TV on in the game room while we ate our dinner so we could watch the NFL Draft.


We were looking for Christian Gonzales....who is the brother of Logan's classmate friend.
He had visited his sister at school and talked with the class recently.
Such a great guy!
He is now a New England Patriot!

Today (Friday) has been low key......another chilly, gray April day.

I made an easy meal for lunch....

and I love my Quesada maker!

Tonight's supper ?
A large bowl of cereal! 

Louis Dean worked on the electricity in the gazebo.
His memory loss is getting in the way of what he wants to do and it takes him a good deal longer to do even simple procedures.

I used to be a compulsive cleaner and my house was just about spotless most of the time.
I'm not like that any more and I don't clean something unless it really is dirty and needs it.
When I'm stressed - I still feel the need to 'JUST CLEAN SOMETHING!'
But on a normal day, as today was, I simply enjoy housekeeping and fluffing up things.

Louis Dean buys things in large bulky containers.
I used the last of my laundry detergent this morning and remembered seeing a new container in Louis Dean's shed. He buys things and stores them in lots of different places.
It's like we play Scavenger Hunts at our house all the time!
I pour it all up in pretty bottles and that makes it easier for my arthritic fingers!
Who doesn't like to pour soap out of a pretty tequila bottle??
I do! I DO!!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Memories of This Day 60 Years Ago.....

 April 26, 1963 was on a Friday and I was in Weatherford, Texas at the Justice of the Peace located in the courthouse on the square at 1:00 in the afternoon.

I was just 14 years old, 5 feet tall, 100 pounds....and 4 months pregnant.
My mother had bought me a white dress from a discount department store and it came with a silver looking brooch which I have to this very day.
My boyfriend and, soon to be my husband,  met us there along with his mother.
A Baptist preacher had agreed to do the ceremony for us.

My mother cried but his mother did not.
He later told me that the only reason mine cried was because she was losing her babysitter for my three younger siblings.

I was scared and so was he but I have no way of truly knowing what our mothers were feeling.
Mine was there because I was underage and she had to sign for me.
He was 19 and could marry legally all by himself but his mother came as a sign of support, or so I suppose.

We married in Weatherford instead of Fort Worth because marriages were posted in the newspapers back then and she did not want her family to know....Weatherford being in a different county.

At that time in my life, I was already gifted with the skills of surviving and coping, but as I look back on that day from this one 60 years later, I realize that I had already made the two most important decisions of my life that would affect all time and eternity for me.

The first and most important one was when I was 5 years old.
God has always been a part of my life, thoughts, and existence.
I was totally innocent and 'under the blood' so to speak until a moment came when I realized I was a sinner and had to choose between good and evil. My sin involved matches and a rose bush and I repented and asked Mother to forgive me - which she barely acknowledged even hearing me - but most importantly -  I asked my Heavenly Father to forgive me - of ALL my sins. I accepted Christ as my personal Savior and received His gift of salvation - from the very first moment that I had realized I was a sinner.
That one decision changed everything for me in my life and for eternity.

The second most important decision was to keep my pregnancy and my baby.
I am still amazed at the strength I found to stand up to my mother.

The Lena Pope Home was a possible solution to my 'problem' - just as it was back in 1957 when Mother had four young children and a young lover who wanted her to 'give us away.'

The compromise then was for us - my siblings and me - to live in a shack in the back yard of 1212 Waggoman in Fort Worth, Texas where our step-father to be still lived with his parents.
Because of Mother not wanting her family to judge her - we were not sent to the Lena Pope Home as he and his family wanted.
Mother and our new sister, Luann,  who was a child of our mother's lover , lived in the house along with her and his parents, and we lived in the shack.

I was grateful then and I'm grateful now that Jesse married me.
That kept me from being an unwed mother at the home and possibly having to give up my child.
Mother had a hard time keeping the four of us siblings much less another baby.

I stayed married for 41 years and had four amazing children and am now blessed with eight grandchildren.

God is a God of redemption and He has redeemed so many things in my life for me.
Were it not for that marriage - I would not have the children and grandchildren I so love today.

Summer was the child I fought to keep and I cannot imagine my life or hers had I not made that decision in 1963.
I often wondered in the following years if I had chosen wisely in keeping her as opposed to giving her up for adoption. She had a terrible childhood and was abused and hurt by those who should have cherished and loved her.

She and I are only 15 years and one month apart in age.
We share a bond that is unique and precious.
I have a good bit of guilt in not protecting her and my son, Jesse, as I should have through the years of their childhood....and then Amber and Benjamin, as well.
I am not the woman today that I was back then and I praise God for his redeeming love and for the kindness and graciousness of my children in their love and forgiveness.

No matter where you are or what is happening in your life at this moment in time - please remember that God has a plan and you are exactly where you need to be right this minute to take you where you are meant to go.
Trust Him! 

"Satan meant it for evil but God meant it for good."

God can redeem any and every thing!
He did it for me and He will do it for you.

Tuesday's Treasures!

 I'll start tonight's journal entry with last night's late supper!

Summer felt better by then and we enjoyed a nice evening.

Trystan gave me the recipe for crispy tostados with taco meat, refried beans, cheese, sour cream and avocados. SO good!!

Tuesday! TUESDAY!!
I do love a good Tuesday!

The weather was mild and Louis Dean brought me coffee in bed while I listened to the doves cooing outside our bedroom door.

I lingered long in my bed after my prayer and quiet time holding court and making phone calls and sending text messages and emails.
I made an appointment with a dermatologist to do a full body skin exam - first available was in July with the PA - otherwise it would be October with the doctor.

I inherited moles from my granny who had them all over her body!
Louis Dean worries about them so when Pam (Reaoma's daughter) told me last summer that she had been screened for cancer - as she does every year - I decided to do that, too. I should have made an appointment right then apparently! All my medical appointments happen in the spring and early summer. June 1st is my yearly physical and May 9th is the day I will see both my urologist and my eye doctor where I will get two new pair of glasses.
Summer called our roofer for me and he will get back with me on Thursday for a price work up.

I finally got out of bed and made us a big breakfast of biscuits, bacon, fried potatoes and scrambled eggs before we headed out to the nail salon.

Summer and I look like we're at a party - Louis Dean not so much - even though it was originally his idea!

He had a headache and was quiet but by the time he was done - he had perked up considerably!

Summer took this picture as I totally relaxed.
Too bad I had to heavily edit the photo!!!
Suffice it to say that when I FEEL good - I do not necessarily LOOK good!

You can see how much better Louis Dean felt after his pedicure!

Magic happened at Hollywood Nails today!

Summer and Louis Dean went off to check out her storage unit as she is moving lock stock and barrel to Arkansas. Tomorrow she will rent a trailer and they will empty out her unit and she's off to El Dorado.

While they did that, I took advantage of a couple of free hours for 'ME' time.

Since this was Tuesday - of course I hit up Texas Thrift and Goodwill!

It is amazing how God gives us the desires of our hearts and on any given day, he has strewn little joys and surprises for us to find along our way.

Just as I show you here in this pic of my Tuesday Treasures.....we are still putting our gazebo back together and I needed a 'new' lamp to replace an old one.
It's just like God to show me TWO!
The larger one is heavy and perfect for the table between Louis Dean's chair and my glider in the gazebo. The black one had a price tag of $89 from Hobby Lobby. I got it for $8 and updated my coffee cart in the kitchen with it!

I always search the book section and as I walked over to this area - I thought 'I'd really like to find an earlier book by Sue Grafton.' I've read several of her books but I have missed a few of her earlier ones.
No sooner had I thought my thought - I looked straight at 'G is for Gumshoe.'
God is in all the things....little and big.

The other day I wore a pair of jeans that fit in the morning - but by afternoon, they are loose and I have to keep pulling them up.
I tried using a belt - but I have 'outgrown' them.
Today God blessed me with a versatile belt that can be cream or black - and fits perfectly! 

Whenever I find a BEE thing - I thank God for leading us into beekeeping!

2018 was when our beekeeping adventure started.
Louis Dean was attacked by hostile bees in the work shop right next to the camper.
Funny fact is - they are still there today!

Louis Dean is such a good sport about everything!

Tonight we all had a good meal together.....
Summer, Louis Dean and I.

Who knows what is ahead for any of us?
More and more I feel the need and the urgency to LIVE!
Each and every day.....LIVE!
I suppose Nita's death has affected me in so many ways.
Nita lived her life to the fullest.
Nita would be quick to tell you she never wanted to retire.
She lived a wonderful life and showered her love on all of us - her children, husband, blood family, extended family and work family.

I want to live Life the way Nita did.....
living, loving and praying for friends and family.
I want to take care of loved ones as Nita would do.

Nita's Mike will be going home on Friday.
He had a tough day today and I'm praying he will do better at home.

I really have no words to express my heart tonight as I think of Nita and pray for Mike....

Monday, April 24, 2023

Monday! Monday!!

 Book Fair is over and all that was left to do was pack it up and this had to be done TODAY as the area that will be used for testing tomorrow.

We decided to call in the big guns!!

Or rather the big GUY!
After all his years of teaching school - he's not a fan of returning for ANY reason - except that he loves his Amber and will do anything for her!
Such as take on the tedious job of dealing with dozens of plastic tablecloths!

He is a sorter and an organizer!
Between the three of us and a wonderful parent who has been instrumental in past book fairs - we all made a great team.

We paused long enough to meet up with the kids for lunch and had to push two tables together to accommodate all of us!
Summer had a rough time yesterday and she was still in a good bit of pain today but she was determined to have lunch with us.
The thing with Summer is that the chronic persistent pain is still there - but the pain stimulator that is surgically implanted allows her to have a measure of functioning in spite of the pain.
On top of several other medical issues is the ever present fibromyalgia. 
And yet she smiles!
And when she can't - she hides until she CAN!

I baked up a batch of brownies in the middle of the night so they would be cool enough to cut this morning. I love surprising the kids with treats and they scarfed them right up! Plus I brought a tin of dilly bits since they noticed I bought two bags of oyster crackers at Aldi on Friday and they all asked - "Are you making DILLY BITS??"

The kids were all excited to see Granddad at lunch and each one paid him some special attention - which he lapped up like a hungry cat!

He is so cute and all the teachers loved meeting him!
I was pretty much puffed up with pride!
He is a man among men and a fine specimen of manhood and I am so blessed to be his wife!

It was really a great Monday and I do love a GOOD Monday!
But I admit that I was so tired I drove home and went right straight to bed!
I only stayed a couple of hours before getting up and going about my 'normal life.'

I found Louis Dean working on the back pond so I stayed out there and planted some begonias Summer had bought for me.

It feels good to get back to normal life again......but I would not have missed the Book Fair and spending EIGHT wonderful days with Amber!
As a Quad Mom - AND a HOCKEY Mom - and so much more - so it has been wonderful to just BE with her all this time! Plus getting to have EIGHT lunches with the grands??? You know how happy this makes me!!

I know it's after 9:00 as I finish this journal entry and I have supper on the stove and ready to serve.
Trystan gave me the menu idea and it smells delicious.
I'll take pics and share!

Book Fair is DONE and Normal Life Resumes.....

Louis Dean has been a good sport about missing me the last several days.

I worked two days last week helping amber set up the Book Fair and then was gone on Sunday to Fort Worth and then Monday through Friday back at the Book Fair!

This was my work station during the week - checking out books for the students and teachers and parents!! Plus restocking, straightening shelves and the odds and ends of Book Fair!

Since it was a Hawaiian theme - I dressed in 'costume' ever single day!
This was so much fun!!

I truly think the Book Fair is THE most rewarding thing I do all year.

Wednesday night was a special dinner banquet and recognition ceremony of Life Time PTA Membership Awards.
It was a wonderful opportunity to visit around the table with our Principle, PTA President and these two lovely ladies. Mike and all four grands were there, as well and we all had a great meal and visit.
It was fun like a PARTY!

The food was sponsored by Joe's NY Style Pizza at Amici - Carrollton, TX 
and it was delicious!!
Chicken, lasagna, two kinds of pasta dishes plus salad and cheesecakes and cupcakes.
SO good and I intend on eating at Joe's again really soon!!

Watching my Amber champion this amazing event was such a blessing.
She made sure that each and every child in her school received at least one book.
And she saw that every single teacher in the school had their Wish List fulfilled - either by parents, students or by the scholastic dollars generated by the Book Fair sales.

I do believe we have the best librarian in the school district!
Her name is perfect - Paige!
If only her last name was Turner!!!
She worked so hard and went above and beyond in making this book fair such a success.

When it came time on Friday to deliver the Wish List books to the teachers - Paige wore her pink fairy wings and tiara! When she was a little girl, a teacher delivered books to her classroom wearing wings and a crown and she remembers how special that was to her. Now she has passed the tradition on and I'm certain this made an impression on all the students.
Book Fair is a FUN thing!!

Amber had to take Kailey to a doctor appointment so the other three came to meet me in the book fair after school on Friday.
The 'Great Book Fair Take Down' had already started!
It's a lot easier to take down than to put up!
It must all be done by end of school day on Monday and we only made a stab at it - but it was a start.

It had been a long time since we went to Race Track for yogurt after school!
We got cold eating inside so we went out to warm up.
The kids were cute and they stood in the sun but stretched their arms out to hold their yogurt cups in the shade!

Next we shopped Aldi and they were SO much help to me!
They loaded things into the cart and then up on the checkout and then into the bags in the trunk of the car. Louis Dean unloaded them for me when I got home. Win! WIN!!!

Friday night supper was a super simple salad plate and a glass of wine.
It was blissful to go to bed knowing I did NOT have to get up early on Saturday morning.

Surprisingly, I didn't really sleep late, though.
I think I was excited about having a Stay at Home Day!
This was the first one in over 2 weeks!!

I found Louis Dean outside in the gazebo working on the electricity.

Summer decided to stay with us for a few more days and what a blessing that has been!
She has the patience of Job and was so good in helping LD.
They make a great team and work so well together.

Our house is NOT air tight and the French doors are a special problem as the ground has shifted and created spaces under and between the doors for unwelcome guests such as bugs and small animals to squeeze in. Well, maybe not many small animals but we do see geckos in the house from time to time.
anyway, she bought some strips of something that you stick to the door edges and it expands. It looks classy now instead of having lots of trash bags I've wadded up and poked into the spaces under the door!! It comes in black or white and I am loving this stuff!!
Thank you, Summer, for all you do for us!!

Saturday night supper was steak, baked potatoes and salad and I served it in our CLEAN den!
I love days when I get to stay home!

Sunday morning I was up and baking brownies while I watched church service online.

Louis Dean and I went over to Fort Worth to see Mike and Deanie and Charlie.
These two are the BEST BUDS!!!

I'm so very grateful for my sister.
We talk about Nita every time we get together or talk on the phone.

There is a comfort in sharing our grief together.

Mike looked really good today but I'm sad to say that the rehab place has not been nice to him.
Both Mother and Lonnie had been here in the past and received excellent care and treatment so we all just assumed this would be good for Mike.
Apparently it has changed hands and the people are not nice or even polite.
No one looks at you and often they don't even respond when you talk to them.
Mike had one good nurse but she's not always working on the East wing where he is.
Bottom line - he's going home on Friday.
There's lots of issues to deal with and Charlie and Mike are talking things over as to what to do.
I think he will be better at home where he can take his mind off the pain but he will still be in a wheel chair and there's so many logistics to figure out!

I took brownies and dilly bits over to the nursing home but left them with Mike and Deanie and Charlie.
Deanie said, "Don't give them away! They don't deserve them!!"
I think this is the first time we have been disappointed in the care and treatment of a place.

I know God has a plan for Mike and I am trusting Him and praying for wisdom and discernment for Charlie and Mike as they prepare for him to go home.
It's still going to be a long road to recovery but I think he will heal better at home.
Physical Therapy will come there for him and I'm praying they will be sweet.

When we got home from Fort Worth, I was so sleepy I felt like I had been drugged!
By 7:00 I couldn't stay awake so I went to bed and got back up before midnight to bake another batch of brownies and finish this journal entry.

I'll go back to bed now as we need to be at the school by 10:00 in the morning to pack up the book fair.
Louis Dean is going to go with me and he will be a huge help in hauling the heavy stuff!
Plus we will all eat lunch together with the kids!
Granddad is excited about that!!
So am I.

Summer has had to rest today as she was in a lot of pain.
Hopefully she will feel like joining us tomorrow so she can see Amber and the kids.