Friday, December 31, 2010

GOOD BYE 2010: HELLO 2011!

There is just under one hour left in 2010 here on the East Coast.  Am I sad to see it end?  No not really.  I am looking forward to a new year.  There is always promise with new beginnings and what better a new beginning than a new year and a new decade.  Boy, this last decade flew by.  That in and of itself is somewhat scary.  It seems as if we just celebrated the new millennium and I just turn 50! Suddenly the 21st century is 10% gone and I've turned 60.  Before I know it I may be 70 and the 21st century 20% gone and there is so much I still want to accomplish and see.
Everyone seems to be talking of bucket lists.  I've heard at least four references to them tonight alone.  What's on your bucket list?  What's on my bucket list?  Hmmmm.....not sure I operate with a bucket list.  Maybe I should.  I tend to take things as life throws them at me; which probably contributes to the roller coaster ride I often feel I'm on.  One day up; the net day suddenly down.  Do I know how to live any other way?  I'm not sure.  At least recognizing that I experience life as a roller coaster ride of ups and downs I know that no matter how low I get, tomorrow holds the possibility and often the promise of being a better day. 
So here's to 2011 and what ever it throws at us.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

RUN DOWN ON 2010

January---Start first year trying to learn how to be single
February--SNOW!  And new Daughter-in-Law
March--Start a new decade of life, turned 60 to little fanfare just another birthday.
April--FSQ Quilt show
May--Formal wedding of Nate and Lindsay, and get to met Lindsay's family we are now a truly international family
June--Buy new sewing machine after 23 years, Love it!
July--First solo road trip then joined by mom for AQS Quilt Show in Knoxville, TN.  Missed Germantown earthquake.
August--County fair and all its trappings
September--Wonderful trip to TX for another wedding celebration with sons and DIL. Broke collarbone in a fall, not an activity I would recommend.
October--mainly a month of recovery couldn't do much else.  Learned without a doubt what wonderful friends I have.
November--Attended final wedding of year.  Count was; attended 4 weddings and missed 4 weddings.  For many it was a wonderful year of love and new beginnings.
December--COLD!  A sense of  survival and also gratitude for the many blessings the year did bring.

This is just a short synopsis of 2010.  Mixed in with all the above were multiple Dr. visits relating to collarbone and my RA; work with my many wonderful fellow employees and employers; shoveling of too much snow; beginning to clean out the house of 27 years of accumulation; many challenges and many blessings; and all the daily activities that keep live moving forward.
I have unfortunately developed the bad habit of watching too much TV, but it brings noise and movement into the house and I have read more in the past year than I've read in the past 30 years or so other than children's books read when the kids were little.
Well that's it for 2010.  I have a few more days of work in it and then it will go into the annals of history.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

THE STORM THAT WASN'T

Well this was the winter storm that wasn't, at least for those around Montgomery County, MD.  Other parts of the East Coast haven't and aren't faring so well.  Montgomery County, PA for example.  We ended up living to far west to gt any snow other than a few flurries.  South of us, North of us and easpecially to the East of us along the coast are getting blasted however!  What we do have though is wind!  Boy is it ever howling.....I just hope we keep our power as it is also once again very cold.  What a winter this has been already,  Good thing Global Warming has changed to Climate Change.  We could use a bit of warming around here at the moment.  There have been few days above freezing during the month and all nights have been down well into the 20's.  Brrrr....

Saturday, December 25, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

A very Merry Christmas wish to all.  I hope your day was filled with love and family and friends.  Here the celebrations are over and now it is time to get back to the business of daily life.  Winter's daily life in a Mid-Atlantic state, often means will it or won't it???????  Only God knows at this point.
What am I referring to.......SNOW!  For almost a week now the weather gurus have been going back and forth as to a coastal storm.  Will we get hit or not.  As of now Winter Weather Warnings have been posted for our area, still they are not sure how much or where the storm will actually hit.  One thing you need to live around here is the winter is a good dose of "c'est la vie"  What will be will be. 
At least nothing is supposed to start till morning, but then this maorning it was supposed to start around 1pm today.  We did have flurries this morning, but not enough to count as anything.  Maybe it is a "God thing" that son decided to head back home to PA this evening rather then wait till tomorrow.  That may be an omen.  We'll see.  There is no where I must go or anything I must do the next few days so I day BRING IT ON!  Just please don't disrupt our power please.  It is already so cold.

Friday, December 24, 2010

CURRENT AND BLAST FROM THE PAST!

This week on Glee's Christmas show a song was sung that struck a chord with me. It was familiar, but I couldn't place it so of course I Googled it and discovered that it was written by Richard Carpenter and sung first by his sister Karen.  Ah, I remember the Carpenters. What a blast from the past.  I could probably dig through the record albums on the shelf and find at least one of theirs. Their music always could bring a smile to my face and  every once in a while a tear to my eye.  Their music spoke to my heart and I guess it still does.  So, Merry Christmas Darling.....and a Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

RANT!

Life could be so much better without technology!!!!  Don't you think so?  Ah yes it has been a bad week with computers, i-Pods, and various software nightmares........oh then there is digital TV, cameras....and cell phones!  I dread ever needing a new cell phone or TV....Well maybe life wouldn't be better, but it would certainly be less stressful and less complicated!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

CHRISTMAS & LOVE

This morning a quote popped up on Facebook that stuck me as being an important thing to remember. So I share it here with you:
  
"A baby is born with a need to be loved . . . and never outgrows it. ~Frank A. Clark

 Love is a universal need.  It does not matter what your race, religion, gender, age or economic status.  We all want to be loved.  Christmas is about love.  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and  only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."  John 3:16  The birth of a baby in Bethlehem, the ultimate love gift from God, is celebrated at Christmas.
During this Christmas season my prayer is that love is found by all and that each of us reaches out and shares our love with another.  Love should be the easiest Christmas present to give, but unfortunately sometimes it is the hardest. 

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

IMAGINE!

30 years ago the world became a little sadder place.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS


What a wonderful afternoon and evening.  I was invited by a friend to go down to the National Cathedral in Washington DC to hear a performance of Handel's Messiah.  The whole thing.  All 3 hours of it!!!  But it was worth sitting that long.  At least we got to stand during the Hallelujah Chorus.  Our seat were in the back balcony which put us a long way away from the musicians, but that was okay the sound was great and the view was fantastic!  This picture doesn't do the view justice, but you can see how far back we were.  The acoustics are not concert hall quality, but it was amazing hearing Handel's music in the Cathedral setting. 

It was dark by the time we left the concert and I love the way the Cathedral is lit at night.  It's really hard to get a picture without a tripod, but I did my best. We were lucky and stumbled upon a parking space right behind the Cathedral that was free.  It would have been warmer parking in the underground garage, but it comes with a price and you do still have to walk outside for a while.  It was much easier walking back to the car after the concert. It was down hill and we were walking with the wind rather than into it.  Boy I hope it is not this cold all winter. 

On our way home we stopped in Bethesda for a quick dinner.  By the time we got there the wind was really blowing and we were very happy we found a restaurant just outside the parking garage! 

Secret Shop, hearing the Messiah, and the cold......despite myself I am getting into the Christmas spirit!  Tomorrow night a holiday party at quilt guild meeting and then a special Christmas luncheon on Weds with girl friends.  Yes it is that season!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

LOTS OF WORK & LOTS OF MEMORIES

What a week.....lots of prep and finalizing for the Secret Shop at church today.  Also what a lot of memories of past Secret Shops. 
You might be asking what is a Secret Shop????  It's a special Christmas shopping experience for children.  One where they can shop with the help of their own personal "shopping Elf" for their family and friends.  They do so in secret making their own choices so there are some Christmas surprises they give to those they love.  Of course I'm sure there are some loved ones that are a bit confused by the present they have been given when it was chosen by a 3 year old who really did not want "elfish " advise concerning their choice of a stuffed teddy bear for grandpa.

 Covenant UMC's Secret Shop was begun over 25 years ago. It is one of the few programs that has continued without interruption t the church from its inception.  The kids love it and the money raised goes to help programs related to children both locally and around the world.  Most items available to be purchased have been handmade but crafting elves who work throughout the year.  There's always a panic come the first of November that there will not be enough to satisfy demand, but there always is. 

This year we had just under 100 children shop.  These are children between 3 and 11 and they are all shopping and having their packages wrapped during a 3 hour time period.  Yes it is a bit crazy at times!  While the children shop mom and dad or who ever brought them get to hang out in a "parent's waiting room" and munch on goodies washed down with coffee, tea, orange juice or cider.  This year we had the extra excitement of the new Covenant Cooks II cookbook with literally hot off the presses having arrived the previous day!  Yummy recipes from some great cooks!  Methodists are renowned for their potluck dinners and love of eating!!!!!!!

Yes it was a very busy and very tiring day, but is was also filled with wonderful memories of the preceding 28 or so Secret Shops including those my children took part in.  I shared one memory with Stephanie tonight.  Santa used to visit the Secret Shop and one year after sitting on Santa's lap for a picture Stephanie pulled me aside and very firmly announced that "that was not really Santa, but Mr. Koch"  I don't remember exactly how old she was, but I don;t think it was more that 4 or 5.  As she said tonight she was already incredibly smart and observant at a very early age.....yep that's my GIRL! 

I'm not sure where all the years have gone to, but they have flown by.  Life is not what I expected it to be at this point, but I am so happy that I still have my memories of  wonderful Christmases past.  I hope in time to begin once again making wonderful memories that I will fondly look back on with a smile on my face. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

28 DAYS!

Yep that's right only 28 days till Christmas!  I wasn't going to put up a tree or decorate this year for a variety of what I first thought were valid reasons, but sanity kicked in while spending time with the kids on Thanksgiving.  As you can see I do have a tree.  It's only a small one but it is a size I can handle on my own.  I do like it.  This is the first time ever that the tree is in the living room and can be seen from the street.  For the next month the living room will be my sanctuary from the business of the season.  I hope it will be a place that will keep me in touch with the true reason we celebrate Christmas.  It is the time of year we remember that God came down and lived among us on earth beginning with the birth of a baby in Bethlehem. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

ANOTHER THANKSGIVING DAY IS OVER

Thanksgiving 2010 is pretty much history.  I should be in bed asleep resting up for a day at work tomorrow, but I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on the day.
Thanksgiving is a day when not only most Americans over eat, but more importantly we reflect back on the blessings of the past year and give thanks for them.  I did have a wonderful day with Jeremy, Nate, and Lindsay.  I got to talk with Stephanie and my mom, sister and her family.  For these things I am grateful.  I would have talked with my brother and his wife, but they are off on a weekend in northern MI.  Other friends I greeted via the Internet.
Even with everything going on during the day I did take time both this morning and again after our Thanksgiving dinner to look back over the year past year seeking things to give thanks for.  I'm not going to try and pretend it hasn't been a difficult year in many ways, but I did find much to be thankful for.  Of course I am very thankful for my children and the rest of my family.  Also for my many friends who have shown their love and support in many ways.  I am thankful for each of my jobs and the people I work with at each of them. I can honestly say there is not a one of my fellow employees or bosses that I do not enjoy being with.  I am extremely thankful that when I fell and broke my collarbone and needed stitches over my eye that that is the only damage I did to myself.  It could have been so much worse. 
The thing that I am most thankful for this year is a growing relationship with God.  Through a variety of means including daily devotional readings, bible study and prayer I am learning more about his unconditional love for me.  A love so deep and passionate that I have a hard time comprehending its fullness.  I am learning to lean on him and trust him and his direction.   The hardest part is I am having to learn to be patient to accept his timing in my life and believe that he does have a plan for where my life is headed. 
Thanksgiving for all of life's blessings is something that should take place each and every day.  Not just on the fourth Thursday of November.  I pray that I can remember this. I want to spend time each day looking for the blessing contained there in.  For no matter how bad a day might look on the surface there are always many things to be grateful for.  I want an attitude of gratitude!

Monday, November 22, 2010

IT'S OFFICIAL!

Ah, after all these years of frustration and confusion it is now official I am normal!!!
You are probably wondering what on earth is she yamering about now? 
This morning I woke up to a story on NPR's Morning Edition program talking about people going in circles.  OK, so they were talking about when people are blindfolded they may think they are walking in a straight line but after about 20 or so steps they actually begin to naturally walk in circles.   But....I choose to take comfort in the fact that it is natural for people to go in circles what ever the reason or the means by which they do so. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

WHERE DO YOU FALL?

Balance in life, where do you fall along the continuum of activity?  At one end there is little activity or involvement in life.  At the other there is so much activity there is no time to breathe.  Being on either extreme is not good for us.  We need balance.  Chances are if you are like me you move somewhere along the continuum on a daily basis.  Hopefully unlike me you have learned how to avoid the two extremes.  I am trying to work on avoiding the extremes. 
For the most part I think I stay away from the inactive end of the spectrum  at this point of my life. This is not necessarily good thing however because it does not mean that I am spending more time in the middle.  In actuality most my friends would tell you I spend way to much time out of the fringe of over commitment. I can give all sorts of justifications for this, but in truth none of them are anything but excuses. 
My morning devotions included a quote from Patsy Clairmont, one of my favorite Women of Faith.

"Doing too much is as dangerous as doing nothing at all.  Both modes present us from savoring our moments.  One causes me to rush right past the best of life without recognizing or basking in it, and the other finds me sitting quietly as life rushes past me."

So where do you fall activity of life continuum?  To the right?  To the left?  Or maybe you are blessed and have already learned the joys and benefits of a life spent roaming around in the middle.  I pray as I move toward 2011 I will do a better job of learning to live and experience life in the middle. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

ANOTHER QUOTE TO THINK ON

It's been a while that I have run across a quote that I  have wanted to record here  so I can refer back to it over time and also to share with those who happen to stop by.  I found one today in my reading.  It is by Corrie ten Boom.  Corrie was an amazing person from an amazing family.  If you would like to learn more about her you can click on her name above.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. 
~~Corrie ten Boom


Good advice to never forget.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

TODAY IS INDEED BETTER!

Sorry about last night, but sometimes pressure just needs to be released. 
Yes today is a brighter day.  The sun is out and well it is warming up...slowly.
Today is one of those disjointed days however.  It is a day that I know will be steeped in celebration of life.  Celebration that on one coast will be full of joy and new beginnings.  A celebration of a new marriage and love that brings with it promises and dreams for a future as a new family unit. Also a celebration on the other side of North America, I say that because it is in Western Canada, that will be full of tears and good byes as a friend buries a loved husband and her children mourn the passing of their father and a family unit is changed forever. This I am sure will also be celebration of the love they all shared. It will be a celebration of the faithful and full, though too short life, of husband and father.  Yes there will be tears but from what I know of this family, though we have never personally met, there will be joy and laughter as they recall memories of that life.
So today is a day of celebration. It is a day to celebrate love and also to embrace loss knowing that God is with us through both.  Both Bryan and Kristen; and Edith and her family will be in my prayers today. 

NO POSTING!

Nope I will not post anything tonight as I started the evening after work feeling rather alone.  Made the mistake of openning a bottle of brandy and watching too much TV, movies and reading too many magazines; and seeing happy couples everywhere.  Not a good combination especially when facing another wedding and watching another couple vowing to love and care for each other till death do them part tomorrow.  See I told you I should not be posting tonight!

On top of it all it's COLD!

Addendum:  Sorry about the above, but sometime I just plain get tired of pretending everything is ok and I am happy!  Tomorrow I'm sure will be a better day or at least next week will be.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

YEP, IT MIGHT AS WELL BE WINTER

Sigh.....5:30pm and it was pitch dark!  I so am not interested in it being winter.  I think it would be much better if humans could go into hibernation like bears do during the winter.  Think of all the money and resources we would save. 

Saturday, November 06, 2010

WINTER IS COMING

The sun has been out which helps warm the air but there are definite signs that winter is coming.  Despite the sun temps have been in the low 50's and at night we are well into the 30's.  We have had frosts and even freezes!  Snow flurries were in the forecast for tonight but I think blessedly they have been removed.  I am so not ready for another winter, but I guess whether or not I want it, it will come.
I haven't been eating particularly well the last month or so. Eating alone is one thing I hate to do.  When I got home for the Arts and Craft Festival which was held at our church today I decided in honor of the cool weather and in trying to entice myself to eat I would make a pot of chili.  It sure smells good, but of course now I have a pot of chili that I used to make for five that now will be eaten over and over since it will only be for one.  Good thing I like it!  Same with the corn bread.  I had hoped by now I would figure out how to cook for one, but it doesn't seem to be happening.  Eating has never been very important to me.  It seems to me it is more important as a social event than one to feed the body.  It's hard to be sociable when alone.  Some can do it I guess, but not me. 
Other than eating it was a good day.  I got to spend it with people in a sociable setting. I also got to make some money and it is incredibly affirming to have people comment on the things I make.  It's nice if they purchase something, but I think it may even be better when they simply affirm what I make as being something they enjoy looking at and its being of value.  I thank God for the talent and skill he has given me and that I have some opportunities to share it with others. 

Monday, November 01, 2010

INTERESTING WORDS

Tomorrow is election day. Around the country we have been inundated  with a war of words.  In light of this I found the opening sentences of today's bible study very interesting.  Once again these are from Let God Love You, by Lloyd Ogilvie.


"There is a new distrust of words, speech making, and theorizing which pervades our time.  Our despair today is expressed in the demise of innocent trust in what people say.  A man's word is no longer sacred. Cynicism, criticism, and complaining pollute the atmosphere. Our nation longs to hope again and yet the diminutive gods in which we have placed our hope in cultures, institutions, and government have fallen from the throne of inerrancy."

What I find interesting in this statement is that it sounds so current.  Yet it was written in 1974!  How sad, over 30 years and the trust in and value of words spoken is no better.  It may be even worse.  Today words are cheap.  At best, at least in the political realm, the only power they seem to have is to tear down and destroy.  
 
Promises made, for the most part, are only made for momentary gain.  In today's climate of  doing what is best for oneself, promises even when made with the best of intentions can easily be just walked away from.  Promises are only words and words have no lasting meaning.  

I am concerned about tomorrows electoral outcome. Not so much as to whether the Democrats, Republicans, or Tea Party candidates win.  What I am worried about is that despite who wins, the war with worthless words and promises will go on and that we as a nation will become so bogged down in worthless rhetoric and name calling that people will continue to lose their jobs, homes, health care, and hope. 

That all said....please do go out and VOTE tomorrow.  It may seem a pointless and futile effort, but we can't give up.  Just remember to vote not on the basis of the words spoken by the candidate, but really think about what direction you would like to see our country move in.  I pray we will move forward and not back.  I pray that somewhere out there is some sanity and some people who still believes that a man's word and promises are sacred, not just vehicles for momentary self gain and profit.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

JUST SOME THINGS TO MULL OVER.....AND THINK ON

It certainly seems lately like lots of things to think about are coming up in my devotional readings.  I suspect this is a good thing.  Part of what I do every morning is read a chapter from Lloyd Ogilvie's book Let God Love You.  It is a study of Phillipians.  I think I may actually have mentioned this book in an earlier post.

This mornings reading had several passages that I would like both to offer up for thought to anyone who might actually read them. (Also to record here so I can find them again to think on them myself if I should happen to forget them.) 

  • "We can lose any faculty we refuse to use.  The sin against the Holy Spirit is the sin of so often and so consistently refusing God's will that in the end it can not be recognized when it comes even fully displayed."
  • "Think of the ways we frustrate God's plan for us.  Consider what the arrogance of trying to live on our own resources does to us and to the people around us. What about our feverish efforts to stuff our lives with so much activity that there is no time left to ask God what he wants us to do?"
  • "Obedience to our Lord is the continuous new beginnings of unpredictable new possibilities."
So what do you think?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

THINKING.......

If you can forgive the person you were,
accept the person you are, and
believe in the person you will become,
you are headed for joy.  So celebrate your life. 
 
I've been thinking a lot about this quote from my last post. 
The part I get hung up on is "believe in the person you will become"..My fear is that I don't know how to become who I am meant to be.  I have spent so much of my life trying to become the person everyone else thought I should be or want me to be.I wonder if I ever knew who I wanted to be. I've been a daughter, a wife, a mother. I've been a student, a teacher, an accountant and a homemaker.  I don't regret any of those roles in my life, but for the most part the active participation in each of those roles is over.  So who am I going to become from this time forward?  Who will I be in the future?   In my devotional readings and bible studies.  I keep reading that ultimately I should strive to become the person God has created me to be.  Do I have the courage and strength to seek out who that woman is?  Who am I and who will I become?  One thing I need to believe and trust is that God made me and he loves me unconditionally for who I am.  So whoever I am and who ever I become in the future if I trust God and put myself in his hands it has to be good and it has to lead to joy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

BARBARA JOHNSON WISDOM

There were several years that I attended the Women of Faith conference in Philadelphia.  It was a wonderful weekend of praise, worship and inspiration.  It was also was a wonderful weekend with girl friends.  I was never fortunate enough to hear Babara Johnson speak.  She was one of the original group of women who started these conference.  By the time I heard of the gatherings she had already had to drop out of active participation due to health issues.  I have however read several of her books. She is a very humorous writer.  Her life has not been an easy one.  There were many disappointments and tragedies in it, but she never gave up her humor or her her faith in a God who loved her beyond measure.  Probably more important than the humor in her writing is her inspiration.

My devotional reading this morning contained a quote from her.  One that I am placing here so I can come back and find it  when I need a reminder.

If you can forgive the person you were,
accept the person you are, and
believe in the person you will become,
you are headed for joy.  So celebrate your life.

I pray with God's love, help and guidance I am headed for joy!

Friday, October 08, 2010

I'M FREE!!!!!!

I am free.  Finally out of the harness that was keeping me from doing things for myself and was rubbing my underarms raw.  Actually I've been out of it since yesterday.  It truly is a wonderfully freeing thing.  I can now change my clothes and shower at will.  Never will I take those activities for granted again!  Of course as with everything there is a downside.  Not having the support of the harness, things are a bit more painful, but nothing I can't handle.  Hey what's another pain in my life?  I'm just adding them to the list.  I thank God for Aleve during the day and Vicodin at night. 

I even went back to work at McPadnett for 3 hours today and will be at the quilt shop for 4 hours tomorrow.  It's nice to be earning a bit more money once again and it is nice to be back among those work associates.  I went back to doing things at church last week and that was equally nice.  So though healing still has a long way to go I am officially declaring this event of my life closed.  Though I'm not back to full speed and won't be for a while yet there really isn't anything I can't do as long as I am careful.  Well, I would enjoy a nice glass of red wine, but that will have to wait till I get off the Vicodin.  I will use that as incentive. 

So what will the next challenge be?  What ever it is I hope it doesn't come around for a few weeks anyway.  I would like life to settle back to at least a dull roar for a short while anyway.

Friday, October 01, 2010

LONG 2 WEEKS

Its been a long two weeks since I've been here. There has been some progress on the collarbone front, but being the impatient person I am not as much as I would like.  I though there was more but pain took over after too many days of stubbornly thinking I could do more things than I probably should have and I am back in my lazy boy chair keeping things supported and still.  Yes boredom has set in and I am ready to get back to my normal busy hectic life.  Alas that will not happen yet.  So I wait.

I awoke this morning not in a happy contented mood.  It is Friday morning.  I should be at Panara's with my beloved "Bagel Group" of friends gabbing about events of the past week and of course eating bagels and drinking too much coffee. Unfortunately due to weather event of yesterday, way too much rain, my much needed shower and clothes change was put off till later this morning.  I am not fit for public appearances at the moment.  Totally my vanity I realize, but after wearing and sleeping in the same cloths for 5 days...well you get the picture.  Then there was the little matter of waking up and realizing that 4 of my girlfriends would be gathering together for a fun filled weekend in Myrtle Beach and I wouldn't be with them....yes I was having a pity party this morning.  Not a good way to start a day I know.  It was my decision not to go because the length of the drive and risk on yet again over doing, but that doesn't make it a whole lot easier to know that there will be lots of fun and laughter that I will be missing out on.  It was a trip that had been anticipated for months.

Now there was good going on this morning as well.  It was raining so hard last night that I chose not to take the garbage out for pick up. I couldn't put a raincoat on by myself and didn't really feel like sleeping in wet clothes that I couldn't change. It stopped raining some time during the night and I did wake up early enough that I was able to get the garbage out this morning.  So that was a good thing.

Then there were my devotional readings for the morning.  Yes, God can be good with his messages for us and sometimes he even can hit us over the head with the proverbial 2 by 4.  The thought for today in one of my readings is:

Attitude is contagious. Is yours worth catching?

Oops....time for an attitude readjustment.  Then I remembered a thought from the DVD I had been previewing yesterday in preparation for a study I will begin leading Monday morning:

Things could be worse!

So today I will get my thoughts back to an attitude of gratitude and if nothing else be grateful for my lazy boy chair, that I seem to be able to crochet without pain, and a boat lead of ladder yarn that I can crochet into beautiful necklaces. Oh and thanks to a wonderful friend I will get a shower, hair washed and clothes changes so this afternoon I can once again go out in pubic.  Life is good and God is even better!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I CAN DO THINGS!

So, due to a broken collarbone and immobilized arm I can't sew or quilt, but daily I am discovering things I can do.  The most exciting discovery today was that with care and a bit slower than usual I can knit.  I always had assumed I knit left handed.  I think at one time I did, but a few months ago when trying to follow some written and drawn out illustrations on knitting socks left handed I discovered, no, I do not knit left handed I knit right handed.  This means my left hand basically just holds the needle and my right hand does all the work.  YEA!  I gave it a try and it worked.  Like I said the process was slower than usual and it was a tiny bit painful at times if I moved the wrong way or to quickly, but I CAN KNIT!!!!!  Dare I say life is good and God is good?

What am I working on?  Nothing so grand right now as socks.  I'm making dish cloths and maybe I will progress to preemie baby blankets.  Yes life is good!

Friday, September 17, 2010

QUILTING QUOTE

"Quilts have an amazing power to soothe the soul and help us through the rough spots in our lives.  Make time to quilt every day and you'll be richly rewarded.  Always remember that quilting is not just a hobby, it's a lifestyle!" 
~~Liz Schwartz editor of Quilter magazine.

So the question becomes "what does one do when she can't do what brought peace and relaxation during the rough spots in her life???"  Crafting has been my release for stress and sadness this year and now that also is denied me.  At least I can still read magazines and have a large stack to go through.  I will try to be content with dreaming about projects I may get to do in the future.  At least this incapacity is only of a temporary nature.

My mantra right now..........this too shall pass.............................but I also share in the biblical lament.....How long Lord?

Sunday, September 05, 2010

SEPTEMBER

I can hardly believe that it is already September. (In fact it has been so now for 5 days.) Another season, summer, is gone.  That means it is now fall.  That means another winter is not far behind.  That means another year will have passed.  I guess this is good.  It means another new beginning is waiting in the wings..  But in reality I don't need to wait till January for a new beginning do I.  I can start today.  I can start fresh each day if I so choose. 

This morning I had a strong sense of watching a new day be born.  I'm not sure why I felt this so strongly this morning. Maybe it is partly because it is September and now fall. The sun suddenly doesn't rise as early as in August. I was up at 6:45 this morning and the moon was out and it was still very dark.  So for the first time in many months I watched a new day be born.  A beginning of a new day.

So what will this new day be.  I know what it will be for some others.  For Jon and Taylor it will be the day they begin their new life together as husband and wife.  For Malory it will be the day she heads off to begin and new job on a new continent.  But what will this new day be for me?  I don't yet know.  According to one of the scriptures I read from today's lectionary though I don't yet know God does.  In fact the reading tells me he knows all my days. Psalm 139: 16.  "In your [God's] book are written all the days that were formed for me.when none of them as yet existed."  What does he know about my future?  If  I could know my future would I truly want to?  I think some things yes, other things probably not.  Its probably better that only God knows and I discover it as it unfolds. So as the world, at least the world here in Austin, TX, wakens I will wait with anticipation to see what today's new beginning will be for me.

Yes, it is a new season.  It is now September. It is now fall.  I will endeavor to make the most of each day as it arrives and if I stumble or fall along the way I pray, with God and the help of family and friends, I can pick myself up and begin again to move forward to the future God has written for me.

Post Script:  Just went and read this mornings  Upper Room devotion.  The last line was: "...no matter where we begin, if we allow God to form us and mold us, we can make a difference in the world for God." 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

MORNING!

Ah, the sun is up and well the sky is trying to be blue anyway......and it is a better morning.  Nights can be the worst!  Thanks to Paula for telling me that today would be a better day. I really did need to at least read if not hear someone say that to me.  I am going to do something for me this morning. Going to spend a few hours before work with some quilting buddies. I am so thankful for those who are a support and an encouragement to me right now.  I constantly need a kick in the pants to remind me that God is good!  That he is blessing me over and over even when I have a hard time seeing it.  I need to remember he has a plan even when I have a hard time believing it.  Somewhere in all this and somehow out of all this there will come peace and resolution for me and for others who are hurting.

There is so much pain and hurt in our world.  Does it have to be this way?  I honestly don't know but I do want to believe in the goodness of life. I want to believe people working together for a common good rather than being at odds with each other; distrusting and even worse being uncaring for each other.  Underneath all my issues and problems there is still a bit of a cockeyed optimist.

One of my favorite singers says it best.....enjoy

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

PLEASE!

Someone please tell me tomorrow will be a better day!  I need to hear that becasue right now things look pretty bleak!  Ah yes, that roller coaster took a plunge tonight.

NOT A GREAT DAY FOR GERMANTOWN!

Well according to the Germantown edition of the Gazette it is not a good time to be in Germantown.....Lets see we have a possible rabid fox living in the sewer just two blocks from here. Also single older women are being raped in a senior citizen apartment complex just up the road.   Ah yes I love living in Germantown. 

I actually think I saw the animal in question last Friday when I was leaving our community around 6:30am for work.  I wasn't sure whether it was a sick fox or a coyote.  It was in the road as I approached the intersection in question and it ran into the storm drain as my car approached,  The scary thing is that on Sunday when I was coming home from the fair clean up there were four preteens or maybe young teens with cell phone cameras hanging around the storm drain as if they were trying to get something to come out so they could take a picture or something. 

So I live with rabid foxes and roaming rapists.....ah yes you got to love life in Germantown a sleepy little suburb of Washington DC....I will go lock my doors and windows now and am glad I don't have a dog which needs to be walked at night!  Thank you Gazette for keeping me informed and allowing me to sleep in peace at night!  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

IT'S OVER.....

Yes the 2010 County Fair is over.  It was a good fair for me on many different levels.  The only area that it was not so good was as I said in previous post I had no one to share it with other than one evening with Nate and Lindsay.  I will not focus on that however.  I choose to focus on everything good about it. 

I did much better ribbon wise than I expected.  Only one of my items did not receive a ribbon of any sort.  One quilt only had a Honorable mention, but everything else had a placing ribbon.  Lots of blues which is always nice and affirming of ones work.  I am especially proud of my blue ribbon on one of my quilts (the one that went to Knoxville AQS show) since they had a nationally ranked quilt judge as one of the judges.

Another highlight of the week came Saturday night.  I had a phone message on Friday asking me to come to the Saturday awards ceremony for the Home Arts Building.  I had no idea what I was getting an award for and as the ceremony was winding down I began to think the message was left in error since I hadn't received anything.  I was shocked, surprised and very honored when I was named for the last award given.  The 2010 Homemaker of the Year!!!!  I am now an official "HOTY".  This is the highest award given in the building.  You can only receive it once aver 5 years or so.  It is given to the person who has the most blue ribbons across at least 6 different categories in the Home Arts Building.  My award was a dozen roses and an engraved Swiss Army Style knife. They made sure that it had a pair of scissors, a cork screw and bottle opener on it. They said every homemaker needs at least those three things.  There is so much stuff on it I don't even know what half of them are.  I will need to locate a boy scout and ask for a lesson on every things use.  It's a good thing this is a ribbon based award and not really based on ones home making skills. My house is rather in a state of disaster after a week of the fair.  Also I find it ironic I received this award in the year I no longer have anyone to make a home for.......

The best thing about this years fair though had nothing to do with exhibits or ribbons.  It was the people!  I loved talking with the youth of 4-H. They are amazing kids.  They are a bright light shining toward the future.  Even more important to me though was reconnecting with friends from past fairs.  The support and encouragement they gave me and the support and encouragement I was able to give some of them.  They affirmed me as a woman of worth and value.  Also I made new friends. Traditions like sharing in ice cream lunches and end of fair dinners continues this year.  It was all good! In retrospect I now see that though I didn't have anyone to come home to and share the events of the day with I had a large number of friends to share with each and every day.  It was wonderful to have people say that no matter what happened over the next 12 months they sincerely hoped to see me back at the fair in 2011 because I was a big part of making the week a good week. I truly am blessed.  I hope these memories stay with me to be relived when I am tempted to feel of no worth to anyone or all alone.

So my major summer event is over and now at least in my mind it is time to declare summer over and move on into fall. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

LAST DAY :(

It's the last day of the fair.  I always find this day involves a mix of emotion.

The first emotion is relief and a sense of survival.  Yes it is a fun week, but it is also a brutally tiring week.  The hours spent at the fair are long and then add in hours spent at work and there are an abundance of 18 hour days.  But it is so worth it.  I love working with the 4-Her's.  There are so many wonderful youth in the program and spending time listening to them demonstrate their knowledge on things that they love and watching them proudly display what they have worked on over the course of the year gives me hope that there will be a good future.  I also have loved catching up with friends that I only see during fair week.  Then of course there is the fair food......this year there is the new addition of Greek salads, gyro's and baklava from a new church food both down by the goat barn. Yum!  The Greek salads at dinner help offset the grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cream at lunch.  So far I have avoided the lure of funnel cakes.

The second emotion is a sadness which will descend around 8:00 tonight when I realize that there are only a few hours left to the 2010 County Fair and that I won't see these friends and have the fun times the fair brings for another year.  When the sun goes down and the lights come on the realization that it is almost over begins. This year I think could be especially sad because I  have no idea where I will be or what I might be doing come fair week 2011.  This could be the last year that I am this involved in the fair. 

I've been volunteering with the Montgomery County Fair for over 20 years now.  Wow!  That even amazes me.  I am within reach of  logging in 1000 hours of official volunteer service.  I say official because in actuality I am well over that mark.  The hours I put in being on the Ag Center Board of Directors for three years don't get recorded as official volunteer hours. Not sure why as they are volunteer time but they aren't or at least weren't when I was a board member.  Plus in the first few years volunteering all our family hours got recorded on Jerry's volunteer account.  If I don't officially hit the 1000 hour mark after tomorrows clean up I will only be a couple of hours short.  If that is the case I guess I will need to figure out a way to be here for at least part of the 2011 fair for sure!

Not only am I a volunteer at the fair I am also an exhibitor.  It  has been a good year for me as an exhibitor as well.  I enter items in both the Home Arts and the Arts and Crafts buildings.  I haven't made a formal count of my ribbons but I do know there are numerous blues (1st place), several reds (2nd place) and so on.  I think of the approximately 35 entries I put in only 3 or 4 did not receive a ribbon of some sort. Also I had a phone message yesterday from Home Arts asking me to be at their award ceremony tonight since one of the awards given had my name on it.  I don't have any clue what the award might be, but I guess I will find out at 7 tonight. 

Despite the long hours of this week I have had some time to do a bit of thinking and reflecting.  I now have a better understanding of why it is said to take at least 12 months to recover from a relationship that has ended. I think this is so because you must experience a full year of activities outside the parameters of the lost relationship.  Each holiday, special event, or reoccurring milestone over the course of the first year comes with memories of the past year.  It is natural to experience all over again the feelings of sadness and loss as you remember how it was the previous year.  There it is in your face once again the memory of how things used to be.  The things once shared that now are being done alone. Even if they were imperfectly shared, they were shared now you are doing them totally alone.  It takes going through the whole 12 month cycle to get past these memories.  Not that the memories of the good times, the shared times, will ever go away. After the first 12 month cycle, however, as you go into the next cycle of reoccurring events those memories are buffered by the first year of doing them alone.


So enough introspection for one day.  It is time to get on with the days activities and experiencing the fullness of the last day of the 2010 Montgomery County Fair! 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

FAIR TIME!

Yes  once again it is county fair time.  I love the fair.  I don;t exactly know why.  Maybe the colors and the constant activity feed my ADD.  Maybe it is the people and friends I have made at the fair.  They are not obsessed or very impressed by power, prestige and wealth.  They value family and friends.  Maybe it is just that it is a time when I feel connected to creativity and a valuing of handcrafts and cooking.  I really don't know what draws me to the fair, but it is a week I revel in. 

This year there is a bitter sweet aspect to the fair.  There are a lot of people I only see t fair time.  People that know me as part of a family and part of a  couple. When they inquire about the kids I have an answer; other questions I don't have a ready answer for.  This takes a bit of fun out of the fair.  I will not let it ruin this coming week!

It's possible this will be my last fair so I will make the most of it. I have entered my projects.  Yes, I hope they do well in the judging compitition, ut if they don't that;s ok also.  It's just fun having them as part of the fair.  I am still working with 4-H.  I've already put in 8 hours yesterday and Saturday will be the real fun; baked goods!  Oh I remeber the days of a kitchen gone mad preparing 4-H baked goods entries.  At least now when I come home on Saturday night my kitchen will be clean.  I kind of miss the mess of that last minute baking spree though.

Sunday will be the opening of the buildings.  Then I can see how my entries did do.  Then there will be the parade and the cake auction.  I don;t plan to purchase any cakes. They will be well beyond my budget, but it is fun watching the kids proudly carry their blue ribbon cakes around the ring as the bids climb...$100....$200..$500 and sometimes even $1000. 

Next week on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday I will have the privledge of listening to 4-H present demonstrations on topics ranging from crafts and cooking to science and technology.  I always leave with hope that there is a new generation that will safely take us into the future. Values still do exisit in America and there is hope for our future.  It can be found at the Montgomery County Fair and I'm sure at county and state fairs around the country.

Yes it will be a bittersweet week, but it will be a great week.  My only wi sh isthat when I came home at night I had someone to share the events of the day with and that it would be someone that could share in my love and enjoyment of the Montgomery County Fair!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

RESPONSIBLE

According to Dictionary.com there are 7 different uses for the adjective RESPONSIBLE. I've been thinking a lot about this word recently.  Why?  Not necessarily for a good reason.  Frankly I'm experiencing moments lately when I am just plain tired of being responsible.  So, of the 7 definitions which is the one that I am struggling with. Its number 4: having the capacity for moral decisions and therefore accountable; capable of  rational thought or action.

I was talking with a friend at church this morning and sharing that I wished I wasn't such a responsible person.  I really wanted to do something totally irrational and irresponsible today, but knew I wouldn't.  Why wouldn't I?  Because I'm too darn responsible and know that as much as I want to do something like get totally wasted (IE: drunk) so I could for a moment forget about my life doing so would not solve anything and would only make me feel even worse afterward.  I think about just packing up and leaving MD (IE: run away), and making a new start and a new life where no one knows what my life used to be.  But how would I support myself?  My jobs are here.  Where would I live?  My house is here. As much as I want to do this I won't. I know at this point I would probably only take my problems with me. Once again I think too responsibly.  I can't even bring myself to run over to AAA and book a cruise to Bermuda or a week at Disney World.  How would I pay for it and I really can't afford to take more time off work.  ACK!!!!!  I really am sick of being responsible........but that's who I am.

As much as I want to can't take actions that I haven't thought through and know that they will have positive consequences all around.  Is this bad?  Are there times in our life where a bit of irresponsibility is well, not being irresponsible?  I honestly don't know.  All I do know is that for the moment I am stuck with continuing to be responsible.  So for now I will have a small snifter of brandy to take the edge off my ragged emotions, I will work on dealing with my life as it now stands here in MD and I will continue to put aside as much money as I  can so when I do go to Bermuda or WDW it will be paid for in advance.

Friday, August 06, 2010

SIX WORD MEMOIRS

I finally got around to reading my July/August issue of my AARP Mgazine.  In it there wasa one page article on Six Word Memoirs.  These short statements on self and life were quite interesting.  The ones in the magazine were themed around Cheating Death. That topic didn't particularly appeal to me, but just for fun I thought I would  come up with my own Six Word Memoir.

All alone. Making peace. New life!

So what would your Six Word Memoir be?  For more information on the Six Word Memoir project do a google search or click on the words Six Word Memoir.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

IF YOU COULD SUGGEST

If you could make one suggestion to God on something for him to do what would it be?  Now I know it would be presumptuous to even think we could make suggestions to God on how to improve things.  After all he is God and he knows all, but just humor me.  What would you suggest to him that he might do?  A change he might make in the order of the universe or a natural law he might implement at your suggestion.

I thought a lot about that this morning and here is what I came up with.  I think it would be nice if he decreed that people who have teeny tiny veins could never get diseases that require constant blood tests and treatments that require medicines delivered by a needle stuck into a vein.  This thought first occurred to me Tuesday after being poked in four different places before a vein that would give up the needed amount of blood for tests was found.  I contemplated the thought again in the evening as I gazed on the two inch bruise on my lower arm from one of the fruitless pokes.  I can't seem to get my doctor to give me a pass on blood work every three months due her wanting to know if my liver is still working despite the nasty meds I'm on so I can move.  I guess I can see her point.  I do want to move pain free, but if I do so and my liver fails well whats the point?????

This morning I really began to focus in on the suggestion I would like to make to God.  It was time for my Remicaid treatment.  The main med I take to keep me moving.  It truly is a wonder drug!  It is a treatment many folks take for RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis).  I hate to think what my life would be like without this drug. Actually I do know, because before I went onto the drug I was there.  I could not even get out of a chair without excruciating pain.  I went into the treatment room positive I had done everything I could do to make the treatment go smoothly.  I drank lots of water yesterday to "plump up" my veins.  I shook my arms the whole time I waited for the nurse to come get me to get the blood moving.  (Good thing the waiting room was empty or people would have thought I had a really strange tick of some sort.) I had prayed that things go well and for the nurse to be skilled at getting me hooked up to my meds.  I felt relaxed, well as relaxed as I ever am after driving in rush hour traffic on I-270 and when I know I am facing a two hour stint hooked up to a IV bag with a needle in my arm or hand.

Alas all my prep work did not work......after three unsuccessful attempts at finding a "good" vein the nurse said he couldn't keep trying without asking my permission.  Of course I gave it to him.  I badly wanted and needed my meds.  Already I was finding it harder to get out of bed in the mornings and my hands were showing signs of premed pain.  After three more unsuccessful attempts both he and I were struggling to not dissolve into tears.  He kept apologizing for hurting me and I kept telling him it was not his fault it was my crummy veins.  I told him I trusted him and as long as he felt there was a hope of finding a good vein he could keep going.  At least it wasn't like he was just jabbing me over and over.  Between pretty much each attempt we had to stop and rest for 5 to 10 minutes for my blood pressure to come up to the point where I wasn't going to faint.  (Normally I like having low blood pressure but in this instance it is not a good thing.) I felt so bad for him because he was feeling so bad about not being able to get a good vein.  I think he was hurting as much as I was.  Anyway just as he was going to give up and suggest that maybe I just wouldn't get my med fix today and on the 8th attempt he found a vein.  YEA!  I got my meds which I am very grateful for.

So back to my suggestion to God.  I really think it would be nice is he were to set up a cosmic rule, or a natural law or what ever you want to call it that states:  A person may have teeny tiny bad veins or they may have a disease which requires constant blood tests and medication given intravenously, but they can not have both!  If this law existed at least two people would have had a much nicer day today!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

COMPUTERS AGAIN!!!!

Have I mentioned recently that I am developing a severe hate of computers and technology????
I thought so!  $)%*%*@%&)$^%)&^)P*

Internet is back up at church so I could move to do bookkeeping back there again, but am nervous about doing so at this point, but my laptop is starting to do weird things that are making me real nervous about it's reliability.  So being a good computer person tonight I decide it would be a good thing to do a back up of all my files....well one of the weird things it has decided to do is not recognize my external hard drive in the back up program.....yet if I go to My Computer it shows that my laptop knows the external drive is connected to it......what to do???  I haven't a clue!!!!!

I guess I'll just pray! Is God a computer geek????  He is all I have at this point.

Now that I have totally worked myself into a lather I will go and try to get a good nights sleep!  HaHa!!!!

Monday, August 02, 2010

MOVING

Seems like every time I get on Facebook or open my e-mail I read about someone moving.  So many people are on moving on. They are setting up homes in a new locations.  Most are due to retirement.  Some are due to job changes. One even just desided it was time to get out of this area and try for a better life elsewhere since things just were not good here. 

Mary and Wayne moved to FL and Pam and Allen hope to follow suit by the end of the year.  Cathy just emailed that she found, put a contract on and had the contract accepted on a new home in TX all in one weeks time.  Chuck and Miki are just picking up and heading to Charleston with the kids....no jobs and no home await them....that's how bad things can get here.  Nancy gave up life in Potomac and headed to Bethany Beach and I don't mean just for the summer.  And this doesn't even count those friends that already have moved with-in the past year.  Yes there is a part of me that is envious of them.  For what ever reason they have determined it was time for a new start; a new beginning to a new chapter in their lives.  I'm not sure which I am more envious of them for.  The excitement that comes with new beginnings or the courage to take the steps needed to create a new beginning. 

Sunday, August 01, 2010

BETA

No I am not starting some sort of test before having something new go live.  BETA Crew is a fledgling non-profit organization started by a wonderful group of three young adults; two of whom I have the privilege of knowing.  BETA stands for Bring End To Alzheimer. 

Friday evening I drove with a friend over to Ellicott City for a fund raiser for BETA.  It was a wonderful evening.  It was held above a pub called Phoenix Emporium and there was live entertainment and this entertainment was a thrill as well.

All three co-founders are young adults. I have known Leslie, one of the three and the President of the organization since......well shall I just say she was barely "knee high to a grasshopper".  She and my daughter attended preschool together. I can't say enough good about Leslie.  I am so glad that we have been able to re-establish a friendship on a new adult level.  (Now if I could just get her to stop calling me Mrs. Brown and use Suzanne.)  Leslie has a heart for helping people.  I truely am proud to know her.

I would try and explain more about BETA Crew and their mission, but I think they can do a better job of that themselves so if you are interested there is a link at the top of this post and also if you click on their Logo to the left you will be taken to the BETA Crew we site.

Remember, my saying the entertainment for the evening was a thrill as well.  That's becasue it was provided by Alexandra Day.   Alex was a childhood friend of my oldest son.  She is an incredibly talented singer and keyboard player.  Much of what she played were her original songs.

I hope to find ways to participate with BETA Crew.  I do have a t-shirt, but as many of their activities will be revolving around athletic activities I think I will take a supporting role.  I don't think that 60 is the time to begin running marathons or going on whitewater rafting trips.  So I am working on spreading the word about them. Speaking of marathons.  The three of them are running the Chicago Marathon in October.  I told Leslie it was too bad I didn't have some spare travel money lying around or I would head up to Chicago an cheer them on since I also have a brother-in-law who will be running there and it would be great to see him as well.  But I will be content with cheering them all on from my computer and the internet! 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

COMPUTERS AND TECHNOLOGY

$%(^*#*@*$*^&(&)_&**  What I feel about computers, servers, networks and Internet connections today is not fit for print.  If anyone want to figure out how to bring down the country forget roadside or suicide bombers just screw around with our computers and the Internet.  You will bring us to our knees in a matter of minutes.
I need to do payroll  which has to go over the Internet by tomorrow morning and there is no Internet connection at work.   Like I said  #)$*^&^*@Q()_$%*%.  I think employees might understand the problems, though they won't be happy with no check, but dear old Uncle Sam cuts no slack.....payroll and payroll taxes late.....penalties charged!  As for servers, networks and computers who decided to make our lives so dependent on them while making them so complicated to understand that with out a PhD in computereeze no one has a clue how to keep them working properly! Yet we can't live without them.  If you are thinking this gal has lost it you would be correct!  Bring back the abacus!!!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

LIFE OUT MY WINDOW IS PRETTY GOOD COMPARED TO.......

Right now life out my window is pretty good compared to many in Montgomery County!  For this I am very thankful to God!  He has been gracious to me.  When I went to bed around 1am I wasn't so sure what life would look like when I got up.  I had already begun making plans on how I was going to mop up the flood in the basement from a defrosted freezer and how many trash bags it might take to haul out a freezer full of food.  I can't say that these thoughts were causing any great deal of stress.  I just was being proactive with what I figured I was going to be faced with in the morning.  You see ten hours earlier a rather severe thunderstorm rolled through the area. It was amazing to watch out the windows in the dining room and the kitchen and see the trees virtually whip around in circles at their tops and the rain blowing first one way and then the other.  My power went out and came back multiple times and then finally left for good with the storm as it moved on.

I was one of the fortunate ones in the county....my power came back on sometime after 2am, after being out almost 12 hours.  When I got up in the morning approximately 300,000 in the area were still without power and many will be without it until Thursday or Friday of this week(it is now Monday).  This was some storm!  I went out to do some errands with mom and was amazed at how many trees in our neighborhood had lost very large branches.  And we were the lucky ones.  Down county whole trees were uprooted.  Several people lost there lives as trees came down on their cars.  Yes life out my window is pretty good!  I did have to throw out some questionable food from my refrigerator, but I think both freezers kept things frozen enough that with refreezing after 12 hours food is fine and there was no flood in the basement. My trees are all intact and all traffic lights near me are fully functional, though in doing our errands we had a few harrowing experiences trying to figure out who was next to go through an intersection that had four lanes of traffic in each direction.

Tonight I think there are still about 200,000 without power.  I know more than a few of them.  Rockville, just south of us was hard hit as was Potomac.  It is a small blessing that the storm also took with it the extreme heat and at least sleeping without A/C is possible.  So.....I am grateful that I survived yet another onslaught of nature in 2010.  What will be next?  So far we have has snows beyond belief, extreme high temperatures for long periods of time, an eathquake and a storm that caused wide ranged chaos!  I'm not so sure I want and answer to what next.....that might cause stress that non of us need!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CONSISTANCY

Well this summer is turning out to be pretty consistent if nothing else.....as the days and weeks continue to pass by it continues to be HOT, I continue to ride the emotional roller coaster of highs and lows, watching the evening news continues to be pointless and depressing, and my office at church fills up with stuff within 24hours of my cleaning out the last batch of stuff.  Somethings in life just don't seem to change no matter how much you want them to.  BUT eventually summer will be over and temperatures should drop and eventually I will no longer be the occupant of the office at church and someone else can deal with it's being the warehouse for church stuff that has no home.  As for my roller coaster and the evening news........well those are things that I am afraid will be consistent for much longer........I can stop watching the news, but I just need to make sure the bar is down across my waist on the roller coaster of life and hang on for dear life.  Who knows maybe some day I will even learn to through my hands up into the air and just enjoy the ride and then when it ends laugh with relief at surviving. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

NICE TO BE MISSED!

I've been gone from home on a short trip for a week.  I was gone for a week.  When gone I always wonder if anyone missed me or if I was just gone.  Well I think at least one little guy missed me or at least I choose to think so. 

I posted a picture of my friend during the snow storms of February and he has been visiting me pretty much every morning since then.  No I don't feed him (though I think my neighbor may be), but we do chat.  It's nice to have someone to talk to.  I know its the same guy (well I don't really know its a guy; may be a gal) because he/she has a damaged left paw....poor thing. Anyway, after our opening discussion of "No, I do not have any food for you", I ask how he's doing and what his plans for the days are.  Then I tell him mine. Unfortunately he is lacking in conversational skills, but I still enjoy his company.  He looks in the kitchen and looks right and left and up and down.  Sometimes he climbs the screen door to get a better look and then he is off digging in the yard for I suppose his breakfast. 

I know it is rather pitiful that I talk to squirrels, but think of me as a one way Dr. Doolittle.  There is also a mother and baby rabbit that have been frequenting the yard.  I enjoy their company as well.  One thing I have learned over the past 8 months is I am not a 100% solo person.  There are things I enjoy about living alone, but I do miss having someone to just chat with and sit with.  To share the plans and events of the day.  So since I have no one else for now my daily companions at home consist of an unusually friendly squirrel and a family of bunnies.  God does provide!

Yes, when my friend showed up yesterday morning and today I rejoiced in his presence and choose to think he was telling me that I was missed.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

ROOM WITH A VIEW

Now if this is what I saw every morning when I looked out my window then life would indeed be good!  There is something about water that I  find incredible peaceful and relaxing.  "Life out my window" if this was it.....well there is not much else I could ask for....a bit more but not much.  Thank you for allowing me to enjoy this wonderful view Marcia, if only for a couple of days.  My soul needed it.

Friday, July 09, 2010

FROM A FRIEND...

This statement and question was posed on Facebook this morning by a friend I met on our Alaskan cruise.  Not sure what is going on in her life but it is an interesting question to ponder and hopefully find the answer to....

"They say follow your heart, but what happens when your head is right and your heart is wrong?"

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

HOT!

Currently the news around me is simply that it is HOT!!!!!!!  Something is wrong when you look forward to the upper 80's as being cool..........but that's where we are on the East Coast now.  I had hoped that  since June was so hot, a record set of 18 days of 90 + degrees, that the heat would be all used up.  That is not to be the heat is only going up.....another 100+ degree day today and again tomorrow!  I am almost afraid to think of where we will be in August which is often the hottest part of our summer?????????

I keep trying to remember the snows of February to cool down........


Sunday, July 04, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

It's the 4th of July.  What is traditionally celebrated as the birthday of the USA, so Happy Birthday America you are 234 years old today.  It is a day of picnics and fireworks and time spent together with family and friends.  At least that's what I remember from my childhood.  Time spent at one of my grandparents lake cottages.  Time spent with loved ones.  Wonderful memories!  Oh that I could turn back the clock and go back to those carefree summer days. 

I know there are still families that value time to gather together to celebrate special holiday's.  They make the time to be together, but they are no longer the norm as when I was a child.  Maybe even then in the 50's and 60's my family was the unusual one.  Maybe most families did not gather together like ours did, but as a child we only judge the world by what is taking place around us.  Children tend not to see things outside their personal world. What we see an experience then is what our memories are made of. Whatever the reality of the mid 20th century was I miss the time of family togetherness and unity.  I always have since I moved so far from family some 35 years ago, but today I miss it more than usual.  If I could turn the clock back I would do my best to not take those times with family for granted.  I would not let the closeness we felt fade away with the passage of time and distance.

Maybe next year will be different, though I doubt it.  Times have changed.  We now live in a society where families are literally spread throughout the world and time spent together in family gatherings is limited to weddings and funerals.  We live in a time when families are separated for a wide variety of reasons. Due to monetary, time, and relationship constraints they just can't gather together except for significant events. But these differences in family structures don't change the fact that it is the Birthday of America.  It is a time to celebrate.  I have my popcorn, wine and chocolate and will watch the DC Mall fireworks on TV.  It's the 21st century and it's a new world.  A sign that I am getting old is that I truly do miss the old world I grew up knowing.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!  It's time to celebrate Public TV will bring it all to me.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

TIME FOR SOME GRATITUDE!

In the business and craziness of life it is easy to forget to be grateful for the many blessings in my life.  Human nature, at least my human nature, seems to want to focus more on what I lack than what I have been blessed with. Daily I nee to remember something I recently read that was said by Helen Keller:

" So much has been given to me, I have no time to ponder over what has been denied." 

If anyone had reason to be bitter about life and what had been taken from her it was Helen Keller; blind and deaf from a illness in infancy.Yet, in time she saw her life as full and blessed beyond measure.

So this morning I am taking time to look aback on the blessings I have received in the last day or so.......
  1. The streak of hot humid weather has been broken and the days are beautiful
  2. The temperatures at night are back low enough that I can open the window as sleep with fresh air
  3. I have four jobs that provide me with needed income and yet allow me the flexibility to take time off when I need some R&R to regain my sanity.
  4. I have three wonderful loving children who have grown into beautiful and responsible adults and a fantastic new daughter (not doing the in-law stuff I love her as my own).
  5. I got to have dinner with Nate, Lindsay, Steve and Lena last night AND make a spur of the moment trip to Jimmy Cone with them all.  Lots of love and laughter.
  6. I have a house for shelter and will make it a home for me.
  7. I have a beautiful new sewing machine that I did not have to pay for with credit....it's all mine!
  8. I have been granted the ability to make beautiful quilts and cards.
  9. Despite all the stress in my life the past few months I can still move without pain (most days) and  have not had a flair up of my RA.
  10. And last but certainly not least I have a God who loves and cares for me and my future. Though I don't know what that future will totally look like he does and he will be with me at all times as I move toward it!  
 "Glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope."~~Ephesians 3:20

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

RELEVANT AND NEEDED MORNING DEVOTION

My morning devotion was titled During the Darkest Days.  For me, today, that was an apt title and a needed devotion.  The openning line read, "The sadness that accompanies any significant loss is an inevitable part of life. In time the sadness runs its course and gradually abates."  Isn't it funny how often a message will come just on the day it is expressly needed.  I needed to read this today.  I need the assurance that sadness will run its course and lessen over time.  I also needed to read and hear the accompanying bible verse: "I have heard your prayers; I have seen your tears. Look I will heal you." 2 Kings 20:5.

Why was this important to me today?  Because tonight I faced up to what my future holds.  Even more important to my future is the quotation for the day given in the devotion.  "Concern should drive us into action an not into depression"~~Karen Horney.  I need to move not sit still.  I need to move into action an action that will place me in a good place for my future. The future that God has planned for me.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A MESSAGE????

Today is my first full day off work since Memorial Day.  Yes it is a welcome day even if all I am doing is hanging around home alone......My plans included a full day of cleaning and then if I Still had energy an evening of sewing or stamping.  Am I getting a message though that cleaning is not the best way to spend a rare day off????  After starting the morning with laundry and discovering a load of clothes that the drier did not completely dry over a week ago and now smelly (I know if I had taken the clothes out when I should have I would have discovered the dryer's reduced drying capacity, but hey sometimes life just gets in the way of what we should be doing), I ate a small breakfast and began to vacuum......well that didn't go so well either....I managed half the living room floor when suddenly I was no longer holding on to the vacuum but only a small piece of it.  Why oh why do they make things like this out of plastic??????? 

I did manage to finish the downstairs floors, but hand hurts from continually rubbing up against jagged edges and holding a short and fat grip area and back hurts from having to bend over because of shortened hand grip area.......I give up on trying to do the upstairs.  I am taking this as a message that I am to spend my day doing something more fun than house cleaning....I can't afford anything else to break down in my life....though thinking back over what has broken since November I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the trend continues.........

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

TEMPTED TO GIVE UP

I think the reminder to and challenge of coming up with dreams for my future did not work as well as I had hoped.  When you are out of practice, allowing yourself the freedom to dream is not as easy as it sounds or as it should be. By last night I was pretty discouraged.  Every dream I had considered was met with thoughts of why it was impossible or impractical.  I  came very close to rejecting the notion that there is a place for dreams in my life at the moment.

I find this to be a very scary and depressing place and though I do not want to be here this is where I am.  I can't ignore where I'm currently at in my life, but I sure would like to  .I'd like to curl up into a little ball in the corner and just tell life to go away.  It's too hard.  I'm too tired of fighting it.  I'm tired of dealing with problems alone and being alone.  This is not how I thought I would be living at this point in my life. 

Thank God as the title of this post states I was only Tempted To Give Up.  God is good.  He is not allowing me to give up on myself, as much as I want to.  He provided me with an Aunt, that though I was not close to after I married and left home, who always when I was in a trying time sent a note letting me know I was a very strong person.  She reminded me that she felt I was the strong one in the family and with that strength I could overcome anything that life would throw at me. I have never been able to forget that faith she had in me.  I remember her now. 

Also God keeps placing devotions and bible passages in front of me that remind me to not  give up.  In the book of Joshua today I read that God reminded Joshua to not give up; to not allow himself to get sidetracked from all God had promised him.  God told him in chapter 1; ""Haven't I commanded you?  Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged.  God, your God, is with you every step you take."  The Upper Room Devotion for the day was written by a woman who found herself alone.  The verses in the devotion were Psalm 91:1-2 "You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, 'My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust." and Matthew 28:20 "Jesus said, 'Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'"  Then I opened a book and read "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13.

Yes, God is good.  Even when I so strongly want to give up.  He is there reminding me that I am not as alone as I feel.  He won't give up on me and he won't allow me to give up on myself.  I don't know what the future holds for me.  I don't yet know what I dare to dream for my future.  What I do know is that with God by my side I can take each day as it comes.  I can ride the highs and I can wade through the lows.  Someday even, I may find the courage to dream again without the what ifs haunting me.  God IS good and he knows what my future holds and he will be there to walk me to it and through it.  What he offers me now is sufficient to get through this day and experience the fullness of it.  Thank you Lord!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

THIS IS WHY I BLOG!

Friends have often asked my why I BLOG.  I do so because it is the easiest way I can keep track of some of my thoughts and musings and I can easily go back and see what I was thinking in the past.  I don't do as good of a job of labeling my entries as I should. Labels categorize the entries and make them easily searchable if I or anyone else for that matter might what to fid something. I need to go back and label things I have missed.

This morning my bible reading was from Deuteronomy and a verse that popped out was Deuteronomy 30:19b -20a."...I [God] have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life....loving the Lord your God, obeying him and holding him fast; for that means life to you...."  The phrase "choose life" brought to mind a quote I had read concerning living and making a living and I know I wrote it here.  So I searched my label of "quotes" to find it.  Unfortunately it seems to be an entry I was not so good at labeling, but I did find an entry from 2008 that drew me up short.  It dealt with the importance of dreaming and having dreams for our future.  It was titled Dreams and Life. I've created a link to it here so I can find it faster when needed.  I need to revisit this entry often.  Seems I have not made much progress on having dreams in the last two years.  I have been tempted to think at 60 it is too late for dreams.  In my head I know this is not true.  In my heart I am still afraid it is true.

At the end of the 2008 post I asked "What are your dreams?"  I need to ask my self that question and I need to come up with an answer.  I need to write that answer down and then I need to trust that dreams can come true even at 60 and beyond!

I will go back and find the original quote on life and living verses making a living.  It is another one I need to refer to often.  Right now I think I have become trapped in worrying about making a living verse actually living.  Maybe it is my season of life for right now.  But focusing too much on making a living verse living is no way to live.....that is like a dog chasing it's tail.  The likelihood of ever catching it is small and so the activity eventually becomes futile!  I need to choose life and life includes dreams......

So what ARE your dreams????????

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

THINGS MAYA ANGELOU HAS LEARNED AND SO SHOULD I

A good friend recently sent me one of those annoying e-mail forwards.  However, this one had some very good quotes from Maya Angelou.  I think they merit posting here to share with others and for me to remember. They all relate to things she has learned during her life.

"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go one, and it will be better tomorrow."

"I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance."

"I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back."

"I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't need to be one."

"I've learned I still have a lot to learn."

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

All good things to remember on this journey we call life.........

Sunday, June 13, 2010

ON A LIGHTER NOTE


Well maybe not a lighter note calorie wise, but at least topic wise.  It's summer and that means its time for fruit pies...Cakes are fine and cupcakes maybe the rage, but in my mind there is nothing  better than a fresh fruit pie.  This time it was a tart cherry pie.  This is my favorite so I would have had no problem eating it all on my own.  Not in one sitting of course.  However it was made for a luncheon meeting.  It was nice to hear people saying how yummy it was and lucky for me it wasn't a big meeting and there were other yummy chocolaty desserts to sample so there was some left to bring home.  So though I didn't have to eat it all myself I do get a quarter of it just for me!

Friday, June 11, 2010

COURAGE AGAIN....AND OTHER LIFE QUESTIONS????.

Is true courage being able to admit to what you are really feeling and thinking rather than being the strong and nice person and being politically correct? This is a real question. I don't know the answer and if this is courage I don't know what the results of being courageous and true to your self means if by doing so you hurt others?
As a Christian what is my responsibility to others if it is against what I want? What is courage and how does it relate to myself and to my responsibility to others? AND who ever said life was easy??????? I always thought mine was, but now I see that was all an illusion.......Suddenly life has more questions than answers....and I am getting real tired of searching for the answers. I always thought the older you got the easier things would get....that too was an illusion.
Life is not easy....Not even God said it would be easy...he only said he would be by our side as we went through the trials, but he is spirit, I am flesh, and I would like some flesh by my side when I have weeks like this. Spirit might be good but it is not the same as a set of arms that say I understand that you are in pain......Spirit can't talk to me in the evening when the house is silent and I need to talk and hear a response. How does God comfort? Someone please tell me. Surely I am not the only one who has had these questions?