Thursday, October 8, 2015

No Guts Boxie Pouch

There has been so much craziness going on that I had to relax.  No massage or dinner out with the girls, but I turned on the sewing machine and decided to create a Boxie Pouch for Only to put her essential oils in when she travels.

Perusing Pinterest, I settled on the No Guts Boxie Pouch.  This wasn't my first pouch/sewing experience, so it should be easy, right?  After reading the reviews (who does that besides me?), I printed off the directions, which were a little fuzzy in parts, even for me, made some notes and since I have a hard time following directions in the first place, I was determined to do so this time...  I ended up googling for others who had made the pouch and posted more clear directions - here at Pink Stitches and Kelbysews

After a few text with Only, we settled on fabric and lining and then I decided I needed to monogram her initials on the pouch.  Easy Peasy with my wonderful Janome Embroidery machine!    I added plastic canvas between the lining and outer red chevron canvas for more stability, and love it more.  I think I will be making these for Christmas gifts this year.
In the end, I loved the pouch, but not all of the original directions.   Can hardly wait to give it to her on Friday!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Dirty little "A" Word

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? --Psalm 56:3-4

I know we are not supposed to hate, but I have a very strong dislike of Alzheimers.  Let me take a little bit of your time to allow you to see a little into the life of one of it's victims.

In the last seven years, I have gradually watched my mom morph from an incredibly independent woman who could and would change her own vehicle's oil, repair her appliances, manage efficiently her finances and life, uber organized to the hilt, to a woman who can no longer recall how to use eating utensils, that she has children, to dress and bathe herself, remember who Jesus is, or recognize the house she spent more than 45 years living in. 

When we brought her to live with us almost two years ago, it was an agonizing struggle on whether we were doing the the right thing.  It is hard to be screamed at, blamed for her current situation, be accused of stealing her money, and even to be hit, knowing she is not in control.  It was terribly difficult for the kids to experience, seeing her like that.  She literally was not aware that the camper in our driveway was for our boys to sleep in, because we had to move her into their room.  That sometimes they had to sleep on the couch when it got really cold, and the reason she couldn't find any knives or scissors was due to our fear she would harm herself or one of us.  To see her live the terror of being so totally lost that reality was fading so quickly. 

This last Wednesday, while visiting Mom, I had to run out to the truck for something, and when I returned, she had no idea that I'd only been gone for a minute and reacted as if she had not seen me for quite a long time.  Today, we arrived to find she was in a state of pure stress.  A fire alarm has gone off during the night, at the nursing facility where she lives.  For safety, all the residents had to be awaken, and taken outside until it was determined safe to return to their rooms.  Each day is new for her, yet disheartening as I watch her decline. Some days she knows she should know me, some she eventually recognizes I'm family, and the ironic thing is she always ask where Honey is, though she doesn't recognize him when he is with me. It's hard not to leave in tears as she clings to me and begs me to help her or take her home.  That we cannot comfort her or eradicate  this horrible disease.  It steals independence and dignity. 

It was so incredibly difficult to bring her to live with us and separate her from the only home, church, the post office, her girlfriend lunches, her birds, seeing her sister, and town she lived in for most her life.  To know how she cries/cried for her sweet sister and something familiar.

We have second guessed ourselves so many times, though we know it was the right thing to do.  See, Alzheimer's not only victimizes the individual, but ensnares the family and friends close to them. The spouse, children/grands, siblings, and close friends,  all slowly lose. To take her away from all she knew was so painful.  She missed her friends and family, her church, house, her town, and routines.  Somewhere along the time, she stopped asking why no one she knew visited and it was sad.  My mom has never been one to be happy relaxing.  She always has to be moving and doing something, and she still does this.  She doesn't know why, but she frets over not getting things done.  She literally cannot relax.  Can I stress to you how important it is to take time to allow yourself to relax and enjoy life a bit?   

I know, there are so many horrific things happening in the world daily, but in our corner of the world, this is our struggle and drama. We never thought it would touch our lives, but yet it has with my mom and Honey's dad.  A double gut punch.  Since Mom does not live with us anymore, the stress and horror of the disease is not so daily present. So, if you happen to see us and/or someone else who has a family member that is living in and through this, we never meant to retreat to our own little world, but it slowly engulfs you, surrounding, smothering, and suffocates.  It becomes your life.  Guilt sets in if I let a few days pass before visiting her, but she has no concept of time, but yet I promise to always go back.  She used to cling to me, walking down the hall till the very last moment when the door shut between us. My last glimpse would be of her, hand cupped over her mouth, sadness pooling in her eyes,  her other hand reaching toward me, as if to hold on for dear life.  The guilt was horrible and she didn't understand why I would leave her there.  

Giggle for the day:  This last year, for her birthday, I saw the perfect card.  If you know my Mom, she always has a thing for cowboys, hats, and boots.  We had to have Honey stop wearing boots when he went with me or should would make doe eyes at him.  So, this card was a *eh hem* hot young shirtless cowboy, standing beside this gorgeous white horse.  We giggled with anticipation knowing she was going to make a HUGE deal over the cowboy.  She never even looked at him.  She only had eyes for the horse and petted the picture while talking to it.  When we asked her about the cowboy, she said, "Why, I don't know him."    

Now before I leave you downhearted  and regretting you stopped by today, sometimes the only things we can do is laugh or smile, because if we don't, we become lost ourselves. Let me confess that we do have times of laughter or smiles - it's at the silly and often childlike things that Mom says or does.  We're not making fun of her, but it doesn't help to be so glum around her all the time.   She needs a smile, dancing in the hallway, some Elvis music, and a hug.  We all do (minus the Elvis music). 

Blessed be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed by Your name

Blessed be Your Name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your Name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise 
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say... 

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

[Verse 2]
Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
      Matt Redman

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dog paddling during the storm

Sometimes it's hard to find the right words to express what one is feeling.  At times, it seems like it is easier to hold them than have to explain yourself over and over.  

I have seen it around me and have felt it.  Anxiousness.  Facing a room full of new kids at the beginning of the school year, a sick child, a loved one with Alzheimers, messy house, projects due, decisions about job or school, relationships...   It all seems a little messy when you think about it, but yet it seems insignificant.  Being anxious, full of fear and doubt won't save the day, solve any problems,  cure an illness, or catch me up on my sleep. 

I've been trying to work on memorizing some scripture.  Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks, but it is really slow going.  I'm only up to my third verse in two months, but I decided to look at scripture that has to do with fear. I should have started with something simple.  My brain analyzes them, mixes them up, and it's a wonder I made it through four six years of college.  I can't even tell someone how to get to my house without using only landmarks.  I'm so thankful for GPS on my phone or I would still be driving around in a panic. I know when I am anxious I turn to Him, but I would love to be the person that turns to Him in times of calm.  He needs to always be my GPS, not just when I'm doing a doggy paddle to keep my head above the storm.  

A few years ago, I took a journey of "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp and the journey was very good and deep. I still continue to look for those gifts daily, though I don't track them here.  I know it is very important for me to actively look for and record them, as a reminder of His continued love and grace.  I never want to trivialize what He has done, but I'm sure He's up there, looking at my heart and life, waiting for me to finally really let go of this swirling storm.  Is that hard for you?  Do you struggle like I do?   

"yeah, so there's a whole bunch of us up right now in the dark, 
knowing things haven't really gone as planned, 
because we aren't what we would have planned, 
and we have failed and we have flailed 
and we have tasted a bit of the granular dark.
And right now in the dark, You come to us, Lord,
lift our chin so we look into You & hear all that matters:
"But all that matters?
Is that I have loved you at your darkest." (Ro.5:8)
*All that matters is that you are deeply loved
in the midst of your deepest dark.*

               Ann Voskamp

 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity,   
  but of power and love and discipline.  
2 Timothy 1:7          

                                        When I am afraid,I will put my trust in You.In God, whose word I praise,In God I have put my trust;I shall not be afraid.What can mere man do to me?   Psalm 56:3-4  New American Standard Bible

If I should say, “My foot has slipped,”Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up. When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,Your consolations delight my soul.   Psalm 94:18-19New American Standard Bible 
So for now, I will doggy paddle and know that He is holding me up when I'm emotionally and physically spent.  When the nights drag on to mornings and I stumble to bed after a few hours of reading and writing, searching...  I'm waiting for that sunrise and it will be glorious.  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Uh oh

You know that moment, when you open the water bill and suddenly realize that the large amount of water that has been standing in the backyard is not due to the recent and continuous rain, snow, and ice, but rather a 28,000 gallon water leak.

How could we NOT know???  It's not as if we loved watching the dogs play in the mud pit out our back door, but it is a low area.  Thankfully Honey is more than capable of fixing it, but finding the time was the issue.  After almost a week of keeping the water shut off, using water from buckets and pitchers, Honey was able to dig two lovely mud pits before he found the cracked pipes (yes, there were two leaks), a friend came over to help yesterday, and I'm thrilled to report that all we have left to do is pay the hefty water bill.    Anyone want to come over for a mud wrestling tournament?

On a lighter note,  Do not call Siri an "idgit" if she doesn't understand a spoken southern dialect,  especially in front of your children, because it will  translate it to a very bad word.

Monday, February 23, 2015


Honey with Only's Puppy
Last weekend, Valentines weekend, Only came down since Mr. Only had a weekend staff training retreat (I know, who in the world schedules something for Valentines weekend???).  I can't say I complained much.  Loved having her and their new puppy down!   Took time to go see Gma in the nursing home, then home to play Phase 10.

Mrs. Only getting her crafty on
Saturday, Only and I headed to Cross My Art Studio to get out crafty on.  For not knowing what we were doing, we had a fabulous time!  It was wonderful to have time to relax, paint, create, and just talk, and to take home our beautiful pieces of art!

Adding  beautiful Script

Adding some details
My  Completed project
Mrs. Only with her completed piece 

Pinterest about sums it up.  Sometimes it's the first place I look for an idea and there are so many wonderful projects I want to complete for our home.  One of those is a project called Two Little Lovers Sitting in a Tree.  The premise is to take "your song" and transform it into a personal and unique piece of art work.  Since I was having a foggy brain day and couldn't remember that ours was "Say Once More" by Amy Grant, I used "Just Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Vasser.  Honey ended up writing our wedding date under the hearts and it now has this cozy place in our kitchen. We both really like it and Mrs. Only ended up doing one for them as well! 

Honey was so sweet and surprised me with some beautiful colorful roses and tickets to see Christian singer, Michael W. Smith on Sunday.  I was so terribly excited till I woke up at 4 a.m. Sunday morning sick to my stomach with some horrible bug going around.  Needless to say, Youngest went in my place and I know that it was meant to be as he not only enjoyed it, but was moved greatly by many of his songs, especially This is Her Time.
my  new Handmade infinity scarf
Friend's daughter is raising funds to go on a mission trip to Belize,  by making some beautiful crocheted infinity scarves.   Isn't this one gorgeous???  I left the house this morning (it was a balmy 45*) without a coat, by the time we got out of church, the temps had dropped and two hours later, the most beautiful huge snowflakes were not just drifting down, they were intensely swirling, like some Disney movie snowstorm.  I was so thankful to have this scarf!  I'd love to just walk around the house with it on today - not sure I could be that inconspicuous.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Between the Pages

It's midnight and the house is quiet.  Outside, amidst the roaring of the cold winter wind, snow flakes swirl and twirl, like laughter, racing toward the ground.  I sit, still in my Sunday clothes, surrounded by memories, when I should be sleeping beside Honey, a dog warming our feet. 

When Only married 8 months ago, we transitioned Youngest to Only's old room with the loft bed.  Dreams of what the now empty spare room could be, swirled and built, till I shut the door.  Trying to quiet the beckoning it held on me, I avoided it.  Not because I was sad of the new changes, but because I didn't have a plan. 

Through the pages of Little House on the Prairie, Blaze and Billy, Little Critter, Sweet Potato Pie, Robert Frost, Lentil, Love You Forever, Napping House, Chicka-Chicka-Boom Boom, and more, I watched my kids learn to enjoy books, but also learn to read. It wasn't until about seven years ago, when I first packed these books up, but they protested over and over... "don't put THAT book away, it's my favorite!"  

Now I sit, dogs slumbering at the door, with my back against a Pack-n-Play crib, smiling.  I sort and pack sweet memories, until they make an appearance once again, to become favorites all over again with our kids reading to their kids, making the stories come to life, and we find our friends between the pages once again.