Monday, December 22, 2008

Wonderful Afternoon with Grandma!

Isn't this the cutest picture!!!
It's my Grandma Martha at her Christmas party today.
She was so happy to see me there.
I was thrilled that she gave me such
a beautiful smile for the picture.
She never did like having her picture taken.
At least during the years I lived with her.

I didn't want mine taken either,
but one of the attendants insisted.
I asked her to take off about 30 lbs. with the camera,
but as you can see it just didn't work...
Guess what my New Year's Resolution is this year... Again!
Grandma was so thrilled to see Santa,
she even stood up and gave him a big hug.
I realized after a bit that she thought he was my
brother, Tom, who passed away about 8 years ago.
She always had a soft spot for him.
She asked me why he hadn't come to visit for so long,
and when did he put on all that weight... hohoho!
Grandma loved getting the presents from Santa.
There was a sing-a-long in the next room,
but she wanted to just sit and visit.
The music was loud enough to enjoy where we were sitting.
PJ had baked her that 7UP Cake, and she loved it.
It was a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas is almost here...and I'm Not Ready!

This has been a wacky month for me. Didn't do any driving for about four weeks, so I did all my shopping online. Still have a couple of items that haven't made it to my home, and since we decided to be frugal this year I really need them to get here!

While I was at a really low point with my health, I received two beautiful cards from Pam Warden of Faith Folk Cafe & Pam Warden Art. She lifted my spirits with the beautiful friendship card and the Christmas Snowman. Here they are. Please do not copy these images as Pam retains all rights to her artwork.

Last Saturday (a week ago), I went out for the first time. It was cold and icy, but my cousin was having a holiday sale in her home. Lovely handmade items... aprons, handbags, wreaths, baby things... too many to name.
Original Art (sadly for me, it was sold)

Wreaths & Handbags
Baby Sets & Blocks... See the Darling Tuxedo Bib!

I loved this "Teatime" baby set!

Mother & Daughter Aprons, Crocheted Snowflakes!

I did a bit of gift shopping at the sale. If you want to see more of these products, visit Breeno Baby at Etsy. My cousin's daughter started the shop, and the two of them have plans to open another Etsy shop in the very near future. They will do custom orders. They put a lot of love and care into each piece they create!

I did a bit of gift shopping at the sale, and had a wonderful visit while sipping delicious coffee and snacking on finger foods she had prepared for her guests and customers. It was a perfect afternoon.

Tuesday evening my husband and I went to the Christmas Concert at my son's high school. He plays cello in the orchestra. It was a combination of Concert Band (freshman) who did very well. Next came the Orchestra. Their selections were beautiful and for the final song, Lucky13 had a "solo" harmony part. It was great. Next came the Jazz Band, followed by the Symphonic Band. I have never heard such a high quality concert, even at the high school level. It was a fun and entertaining evening!

This week I made a couple small homemade gifts, but I'll have to wait till after Christmas to show them. I don't want to spoil a surprise. PJ did our outside lights and I got our tree up, but there are only lights on the tree... no ornaments.

There is snow covering the ground outside and it's very cold. Inside it's nice and warm. The house is filled with the smell of spiced apple cider, ginger snaps, sugar cookies and a 7-UP Cake. PJ did the baking, and sampling, while I worked on last minute Christmas cards and gifts! I am taking the 7-UP Cake it to a Christmas Sing-a-Long at the Assisted Living Home where my Grandma Martha lives. It's one of her very favorites.

I hope you are all having a peaceful, fun holiday season.

Nita Jo

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thoughts on Giving

Good Morning! I only have a moment today, so I wanted to share some favorite quotes:

On Giving...

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
- Winston Churchill

If you have much, give of your wealth. If you have little, give of your heart.
- Arab proverb

On Happiness...

Whoever is happy will make others happy, too.
- Anne Frank

On Something That Makes Me Happy...

There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.
- Jane Austen

During this busy season, it is good to remind myself of these things:

  • Give within your means.
  • Put your heart into your gifts.
  • Find what gives you joy and share that with others.

The things that bring me joy are faith, family, home, and giving. If these are in place in my life, I am content. My wish for you today is that you find the things that bring you joy and contentment.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm ok...

Just a quick note... several friends have asked if I'm ok. I did have another very bad spell with the MS... par for the course (I have said this expression for years without thinking about it's roots... must refer to golf?!? If you know, please let me know).

I got better, then overdid working in my garage looking for Christmas decorations and lights... my back then went out (where exactly they go when they go out I do not know, but it's terribly inconvenient!).

I am doing better again, but just have so much on my to do list. The holidays can be so much fun, but there are so many things to choose from.

Thank you all for your continued prayers! I appreciate it so much!

A big thank you to Pam Warden, who sent me two of her beautiful art cards! One for encouragement, and another for Christmas! I was so blessed by her kindness. I will post a picture when I figure out that new birthday camera I got.

I hope all your holiday activities are filled with family, friends, fun, and blessings from above!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Birthdays, Cousins, Where Does Time Go?

Today is my cousin's 49th birthday! Really? 49?
But I'm only 30 something aren't I?
How is it my younger cousin got older than me?
Ok... I'm having an extreme moment of denial, but 49? Oh my!

I took this picture with my little Brownie camera on an Easter Sunday, many years ago. It's my sis, and cousins (from right to left) KLR, KDR, and PKR.

Here PKR is, on his knees, during a performance of Godspell.
(it's the November 18th post)
You are lookin' good PKR!
"Happy Birthday toooo you!"
And, KLR took this one of me! Oh my...

Speaking of birthdays, I celebrated mine on Sunday... my 52nd! Ouch! There's a dose of reality, but the alternative to having a birthday is not so great! I'm thankful for every new day I am given, wrinkles and all!

My husband surprised my with a brand new RED (my favorite color) Kodak EasyShare Camera! And a case! I was so surprised! I've haven't had time to play with it yet, but I will be posting some pictures soon.

He baked me a Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting! Heaven! And he picked up one of my favorite dinners, Lemon Rosemary Chicken, from Johnny Carino's. We relaxed, watched some TV with my boys, ate more cake... It was a beautiful, relaxing birthday.

Christmas Giveaway from The Charm House

Yvette, from "The Charm House" is hosting a wonderful Giveaway. It's a three piece nativity set, and it is beautiful. You can enter by going here, or by clicking the photo link on my sidebar.

While you're there, take a moment to read through her inspiring posts, and take a look at her lovely artwork. I think it will bless you as much as it did me.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - Change

This was written on November 8, for the Sunday Scribblings prompt "Change". I had to put it on the back burner until now, so there are some posts that I wrote after this one. I hope you'll scroll on down and check them out...

I need change. After months of dealing with new MS issues, it was beginning to get to me. I dropped by my church this morning to deliver food for the members of Laurie Roberts band and the volunteer workers. I decided to pop into the sanctuary to hear them practice for the evening concert. I didn't know if I would be up to attending.

As I sat there listening, I found the songs touching me in a new way. During a break, Laurie brought her friends, Pastor LaShund and Kadesha Lambert, back to meet me. When she told them that I had MS, they said "Let's pray right now". I felt such a change pouring through me as the three of them began to pray. No, I did not experience an immediate physical healing. I had a spirit healing.

I try to keep from being negative about everything that MS has done to my life, but the truth is... some days are just so hard. It's like taking two steps forward and four back. As I stood letting their prayers roll over me, I regained some of my spiritual strength.

This week, I found a website that spoke to me. It's written by a lady with Lupus. There are so many familiarities with MS symptoms. It's here: But You Don't Look Sick... The Spoon Theory . Some days I just run "out of spoons"... you'll have to go read about it to understand what I mean by that.

After Laurie, LaShund and Kadesha prayed with me and for me, I knew I wanted to be able to come back for the concert at 7 PM. I went home and slept for over two hours. I was saving spoons... I knew I would need them if I was going to attend. I'm so glad I did! The concert was so uplifting. It was more than a performance. It was a time of worship... a time of blessing.

The change I felt was worth more than the spoons I reserved. I might have used them to clean my house, do some blogging, or run errands. I'm thankful I saved them for a time of spiritual enrichment. I am thankful for the spiritual healing. New strength to carry on. Courage for the challenges. Renewed belief in the awesome power of prayer in my life.

It's a Beautiful Autumn Day... and Free Images

It is a beautiful autumn day. I was doing some clearing up around the house, then decided to go through my photo files on my PC. I found a ton of art images that I haven't gotten around to using, so I decided to share some Free Images with you.

I only found one Thanksgiving picture in my files. It's this turkey from Dover Publications. If you click on the link, it will take you to their home page. They have all kinds of publications, including clip-art. You can sign up to get Free Sample images that can be used in your own creations. They also have some amazing sales on books of all kinds.

You just click on the image to enlarge it, then right click and save to your files.

Also, from Dover are the following three Christmas images.

I hope you enjoy using these in your own art projects. There are a few other images I offered in the past. Just click on the Free Images label below to see them all. Any images not marked as free are owned by me, or used with permission of the owner. Please honor my copyright on all other photo's, images, and writing.
Nita Jo

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kitties, Challenges, & Music

Well, it's been a rough couple of weeks, but things are getting back on track now. I'm missing my cats... we'd had Muska for several months. She was abandoned by her owner when the vet refused to "put her down"... she was too healthy for that, so we took her in. Then we had a stray show up at our door a couple weeks back. A darling little Siamese. He was so cute... except for the claws. My last two cats were declawed, and I'd forgotten what a kitty can do to a perfectly lovely sofa or set of drapes! But, as time passed with no one advertising for him, or answering our "Found Kitty" ad, I got quite attached to "Koko" (named after the lead "cat" charactor in the "Cat Who" mysteries). Then Muska began misbehaving... let's just say I had to shampoo my hallway carpet more than once a day. Anyway, between the rips, uprooted plants, smells... PJ had enough of it so the kitties had to go. I couldn't bear to take them to the shelter, so he did it.

PJ didn't realize how attached I was to them. I guess I didn't either, as I cried like a baby the minute he drove away with them. He was just concerned about me. Being as physically challenged as I have been the past few weeks, I did not have the energy or strength to stay on top of even the minimal keeping of the house, getting meals done, and several days I couldn't even make it out to the mailbox. He felt the cats were an additional strain on me. I'm sure he was right, but I still miss them.

One bright note... PJ was told we could call in and keep track of what happens with them. They felt the two would be adopted in a very short time... they are both adorable.

Now on to other news. Last weekend I went to my cousin Laurie's concert on Saturday evening (see the photo link on my sidebar). It was wonderful! It was the first local concert for her "Perhaps God" album and was a blessing! I also made it to church for the Sunday morning service, but by the time church was over I could barely make it to my car.

I am much better today. I even felt well enough to go to my son's Orchestra concert tonight. It was a combination of Orchestra and Concert Band. They each played a couple selections of their own, then they joined together to perform a song from the Harry Potter movie soundtrack. It was excellant!

Well, it's late. I'm going to force myself to go to bed. I napped all afternoon so I could be sure to get to Lucky 13's concert, but now I don't feel sleepy at all.

Blessings to you, my friends! I appreciate the prayers and concern you have expressed. I am taking each day as it comes. I continue to have faith, and am thankful for each & every day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Change is in the Air...

I found this video of Mahalia Jackson singing "Hold Me". It's one I had not heard before, but I loved it. I hope it has meaning for you.

With change in the air today, as millions cast their votes, I said a prayer for our next president. No matter what our personal beliefs and politics are, we need to stand behind our leaders with prayer... even if our choice is not the winner of this election.

I also said a prayer for President George Bush and his family as they prepare to step down from the presidency. I pray for them to be blessed, and that they would have peace in the days to come. I believe he lead this country the best he knew how. I am grateful for the effort, even when I did not share his views.

I am not a political person, and I find it difficult to debate issues. The one thing I can say for sure, is that the shoulders of our next leader must be strong and broad. As with every person who steps into office, they inherit "what is" and must deal with those issues that are most pressing, starting from day one. What a huge, awesome responsibility. Please join me in praying for our next president... Democrat or Republican... Obama or McCain... equally, they will need our prayers and support.

I voted... have you?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Faith Folk Cafe - Sunday Challenge

I was just over at Faith Folk Cafe, one of my favorite spots. Yesterday they began a Sunday Challenge. This week it is:

Sunday Challenge... It's simple...what are you thankful for?

To participate, or just read everyone's posts, go here.

As I sit here, I know I have too much to ever list. God has been so good to me.

I am thankful...

For Christian grandparents who saved my life... and the life of my mother, by bringing us to know God; and for teaching us to have faith no matter what trials may come... for life is full of trials, but it is also full of blessings, miracles, love, and beauty.

For a loving, caring husband who has stood by me through all the loss, pain, uncertainty.

For two sons that are so dear to me. Sons I was told I might never be able to have. They are my miracles, my heart.

For a mother and an uncle who, by their example, taught me that faith is not dependant on a perfect life, a healthy life, a pain-free life... that you can walk in faith in the midst of pain. Pain, failure, sickness, disability do not define us... we are defined by Christ alone. He is our source of strength.

For family, For friends, For wonderful Pastors, For strength for this day...

For unending hope for the future. No matter who becomes our next President, I can walk in faith, without fear, because everything... Everything... is in the hands of my creator... my Father God and His dear son Jesus Christ.

I am thankful that I can believe in a bright tomorrow. I believe while we are traveling there, faith will carry us through the rough times.

I am thankful, so thankful...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Joy In My Journey

I have been having a few "bad" days with my MS. I had the worst headache I can remember having. It started Friday, and continued to get worse on Saturday and Sunday. I had told one of my very best friends about it.

When she went to church Sunday morning, they asked for all who were suffering with headaches to come forward. Since I was not there, my dear friend went up in my place. The pastor prayed for healing for me and that I would hear a song in my heart. My friend just told me about this an hour ago. The following song by Michael Card has been going through my head since Sunday evening. I've been singing bits of it around the house and when driving my son to driver's ed.

Joy in the Journey
Michael Card

There is a joy in the journey
There's a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey

And all those who seek it shall find it
A pardon for all who believe
Hope for the hopeless
And sight for the blind

To all who've been born of the Spirit
And who share incarnation with Him
Who belong to eternity stranded in time
And weary of struggling with sin

Forget not the hope that's before you
And never stop counting the cost
Remember the hopelessness
When you were lost

Cause there is a joy in the journey
There's a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey
And freedom for those who obey

I love the music and the lyrics of this song! Oh, and my headache was easing off at noon and was gone by about 2:30 Sunday afternoon. This is what keeps me believing in the power of prayer. I didn't know I had been prayed for, but I know the results. I've been struggling with these terrible headaches off and on for the past three months. They last anywhere from 3 days to a week. They are resistant to pain medication, and they had gotten progressively worse. Saturday the pain was well beyond the "10" in the "rate your pain from 1 to 10, 10 being the worst you have ever had" and I didn't know what else I could do... then somebody prayed.

So, today I put myself on our prayer chain for the other things that are happening in my body. I try very hard not to complain (though I do now and then... being human and all!) so I had not shared everything that's been going on. My left arm went numb a few weeks ago, and this week the numbness spread to the left side of my torso. What's strange is the skin is numb, but there is still muscle and bone pain underneath. My muscle spasms in my legs and back have returned, so I have been forced to use a cane to get around again.

Even with all this, I know I am so much better off than many people around the world. I have a loving family who takes care of me when it's needed, I have excellent insurance and health care, I have a church family that prays for me when I ask, and I have a Heavenly Father that answers prayer... sometimes with a miracle. My head is pain free today, and my heart is grateful that I can always find joy in my journey.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Style - From Behind My Glasses

I just found out that we are only supposed to use works that are created directly from the prompt, not old works (which makes sense as it is a "prompt"). That means this is not an official Sunday Scribbling work. I've removed S.S. from the title and my labels. I'll get back to writing new works when things "change" (the new prompt) around here. I appreciated all the kind comments.

I am sharing a short memoir that I wrote about two years ago. I decided to shared it "as is" even thought it's a bit rough, so please ignore my punctuation boo boos. I've always wanted to have "style", but generally fall very short of it. I'm mostly a bluejeans, t-shirt, sneakers kind of gal, though under the right circumstances... when the planets are aligned just right... I might be seen in a dress and a nice pair of shoes. Anyway, here's my story:

From Behind My Glasses
I have a certain perspective on the world. It’s partly due to the fact that I have no perspective…physically that is. Well, not “no” perspective, but it is impaired along with my overall vision.

When you grow up looking at the world from behind a pair of bottom-of-a-pop-bottle thick, heavy lenses, it skews how you see things. I felt like a nerd. Perhaps I was one, or am one in the truest sense of the word. I had to continually grope for ways to interact in an accepted manner.

It wasn’t just the glasses. I was fashion challenged. My grandmother was the fashionista in our home. She would dress up to go out; hair just so, pretty little high heels, you get the picture.

I was getting ready for a big family birthday party. I remember trying to find a shirt or a sweater to wear with my skirt. The skirt was nice. Right in fashion for it’s time. It had a nice cream background with a dark brown leaf pattern. Busy, but definitely in fashion. I held up one shirt after another, getting more frustrated by the minute.

It was almost time for the guests to arrive. Grandma, tired of my slow inability to decide, came in and pulled a shirt out of my closet. It was white, with an equally busy bright orange paisley pattern. “Orange and brown look nice together. Wear this.” And, like the nerd I was, I let her convince me. I have a picture of me at that birthday party. I looked like a fashion nightmare! Not just a “don’t” like you’d see in a ladies magazine, but a “what cave did she just crawl out of don’t!” Hair slicked back behind a wide bright headband, ankle socks with pointed little slip-ons at least a size too small, and of course, my cat-eye brown glasses that I got in the fifth grade. What 13 year old wouldn’t want to lock herself in her room and never come out again? But I, in my perpetually nerd-like manner, sashayed around the house as if I was the hottest number this side of the Rockies. I had no clue at the time that Grandma, in the interest of having everything ready on time, had grabbed the first shirt she laid her hands on.

The point of sharing this is to prepare you for the complete and utter mess that is me. I wanted so much to be loved, to be fashionable, to be loved, to be talented, to be loved, to be popular, and let’s face it…just to be loved. I didn’t particularly see anything about my 13 year old gawky, uncultured, self that was worthy of any kind of love. And, forget about respect or popularity! Out of the question!

These were the days of the early 70’s. I was too young to be a true part of the hippy culture, and we were still a distance away from the John Travolta white leisure suits and disco hip! It was that confusing time of mini, midi, and maxi skirts. Hot pants one day and ruffled blousy blouses the next. From Holly Hobby to braless decadence!

Girls at my school had just been given permission to wear “pants suits” as well as dresses. That was a major coup! We had choices! If you did wear a dress and it looked too short, you had to kneel on the floor while a teacher took a ruler and measured from the floor to the hem. If I remember correctly, it had to be 2 inches or less between dress and floor. Some girls, not me, had to have the lady P. E. Teacher administer what was called the “pencil test”; if the pencil stayed in place you were required to wear a brassiere. Well, you get the picture. I was stuck smack dab in the middle of the conservative early 60’s mentality and the heyday of the love generation.

When you wear thick glasses, people have a way of not looking you in the eyes. Maybe the distorted appearance of the eye itself is disconcerting to them. Maybe the reflective glare of the lens sets up an invisible barrier they don’t want to penetrate, for fear of what lies behind. No matter, suffice it to say that glasses were to 13 year old girls as kryptonite was to Superman. Totally, and devastatingly, debilitating to any chance of a normal social life. And this, when coupled with my lack of any level of fashion sense, brings us to the truth of my status as a nerd.

The view from behind my glasses was both unreachable and intimidating. I remember thinking I’d look ridiculous in a bridal veil. The glasses just wouldn’t look right; therefore, no veil for me! Forget sports! My glasses would be in the way and if I removed them, I could barely make out my own hand in front of my face. I let the imaginary barrier become a wall that I couldn’t climb over.

I’m nearly 50. I find myself at times still hiding behind my glasses, holding the world at a safe distance. I can sometimes almost make myself invisible, and perhaps, if invisible I am also invincible.

Once in a while I find myself letting my guard down, coming out from behind my glasses; and being surprised that a world seen slightly out of focus becomes softer. I am forced to step closer to what I’m looking at to really see it. Life, and how I observe it, is merely a matter of my level of perception. Stepping in closer brings a vulnerability that, even now, I may not be ready for. On most days, I will probably still choose the view from behind my glasses.

Copyright 2006 by Owner of this blog, Created March 7, 2006, Final Version June 1, 2006

Friday, October 17, 2008

Giveaway at Pigtails & Snails!

There is a wonderful quilt give-away over at Pigtails & Snails and it ends tonight at 7 PM MST. Hurry on over if you want to enter. The quilt is lovely!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Time For A Photo Challenge

The next Brenda Photo Challenge is soon! The theme is "Old" and is hosted by Donna of Made in Heaven. The due date is October 18th!

Be sure to visit the Brenda Photo Challenge site for complete instuctions and to view all the entries. To see my early entries go here. To see my most recent go here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mind Wide Open - "All Dressed Up"

This is the image we were given for this month's Mind Wide Open challenge. Such sweet faces! The prompt for this image was "All Dressed Up" and was a lot of fun.

Below is my entry. My project was to repurpose a stationary box. I turned it into a keepsake box by adding party hats to the little girls, vintage sheet music, lace, ribbon, buttons, and a photo of my grandmother and her sister. The image of the little girls made me think of sisters growing up together, playing dress up and sharing their dreams.

I also decorated the inside of the box. I can't show that to you since I still have no camera. I was able to get an image of the top of it by laying it on my scanner for this photo.

There is a lovely prize for the winner, so please visit the Mind Wide Open blog (photo link over to the right on my sidebar) and place a vote for your favorite.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

Donna of Made In Heaven Tagged me... here are my answers:

7 Things I Plan To Do Before I Die
1. Have at least one work published
2. Make sure I share my family history with my boys
3. Make sure my husband and boys know how much they mean to me
4. More Travel (especially back to the Oregon Coast)
5. Get my hundreds of photos organized
6. Read, read, read... my hundreds of books
7. Try to make a positive difference in this world

7 Things I Do Now
1. Write
2. Blog
3. Watch Movies
4. Watch TV
5. Photography (still learning)
6. Listen to music
7. Pray

7 Things I Can't Do
1. Hold a grudge
2. Run
3. Sleep on a normal schedule
4. Bungee Jump
5. Cheat
6. Keep My House Organized
7. Everything... (well, can you do everything?) ;-)

7 Things That Attract Me To The Opposite Sex
1. Integrity
2. Sense of Humor
3. Eyes
4. Smile
5. Intelligence
6. Compassionate
7. Loves children and animals

7 Things That I Say Most Often
1. I love you!
2. What were you thinking?
3. I need a coke!
4. I have to hurry, I'm late!
5. I forgot...
6. Where's my phone? keys? purse? sunglasses?...
7. It will all work out.

7 Celebrities That I Admire (This was very hard for me, and subject to change)
1. Maya Angelou
2. Paul Newman
3. Sidney Poitier
4. Jim Carey
5. Jennie McCarthy
6. Chonda Pierce
7. (and some classics that are gone... Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,... too many to list!)

7 Favorite Foods
1. Baked Salmon
2. Roasted Chicken
3. Sweet potatoes (or yams)
4. Oat Bread
5. Cheesecake
6. Cornbread Stuffing
7. Brownies

7 People Who Need To Do This
(I picked people whose blogs I love to visit... I hope you each have fun with this. Please go ahead and link to an old post if you've already done this.)
1. SVG
2. IEG
3. DarLy
4. Tammy
5. Lana
6. Vikki
7. Patchwork Heart

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sleepover, Encounter, and more...

It's been a busy week. Starting last Friday, I went to a girl's night sleepover. Silver Valley Girl and I met at my cousin Laurie's home for a night of fun and conversation. We always have more to talk about than we have time, but we covered a lot of topics in one night.

SVG also introduced us to "Slings and Arrows" a Canadian television program. It's a TV show based on a Shakespearean Theater festival. If you like Shakespeare, comedy, or theatre, check it out. I really enjoyed it and look forward to renting Seasons 2 and 3. We watched three hours of Season One Friday night and the last 3 hours Saturday morning. Before our Saturday morning viewing, we "had" to make a run to Starbucks for coffee and pastries! My first pumpkin latte of the season! So good!

We chatted about our respective writing projects, Laurie's upcoming concert, family and so much more. When I got home Saturday afternoon, I mentally went over the list of topics we never got too. Even though we talked for hours, there were many! That just means we'll have to do it again sometime.

Sunday found Lucky 13 and I coughing our heads off. I think it was brought on by allergies. Sadly my favorite season, autumn, is also my highest allergy time. Apparently, Lucky 13 is following my lead... His turned into a terrible cold/bronchitis/fever which meant missing 2 days of school, another trip to the doctor, and all that goes with this... cough meds, nasal sprays, decongestants... you know the drill. We had a run to the doctor last week, when he passed out at at school, fell, and ended up with a strained tendon in his wrist. Turns out he is anemic... which means iron, red meat (which we'd been avoiding), and more leafy greens! Thankfully, all is well at my little home this morning!

I have about a million and one things to get done today and tomorrow. I'm scheduled to attend an Encounter weekend beginning Friday and ending Sunday. I was unable to go to the one in June, and I'm looking forward to this! It is a small group of women selected by our Pastor, who meet for an intense time of examining our spiritual selves. No TV, music, cell phones, computers... oh my! That part will be hard, but I know there will be Bible study, prayer, and exercises to strengthen our spiritual walk.

Well, I'd best get back to my list of to-do's! I find it so easy to get lost in my writing and in reading from many of the wonderful blogs I've discovered. If you want to do some reading, check out my list of favorites on my sidebar. It actually needs updating as I have met several more wonderful people in the past few weeks. That will be on my to-do list for next week.

Before I forget, thank you to all who continue to pray for Sally. She actually got to leave the hospital for a few hours with her family. This is part of her therapy, to see how she handles everyday situations. Reports are that she had a very nice time. They were careful not to let her get too tired. Her progress has been amazing, but we appreciate your continued prayers as there is a long way to go.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - Invitation

Time for Sunday Scribblings again (see the link on my side bar to read all the entries). The prompt this week is "Invitation". Here is a short story I wrote on the subject:

Invitation to the Past

The light was blinking on the answering machine. She'd kept the land line even though she didn't use it anymore. All of her personal and business contacts came to her cell phone or email.

She'd had the same phone number since 1974. Since she hadn't moved from her home town, she was able to transfer her number with each address change. The question now was why?

Without listening, she knew who it was from. She could hear the sound of his voice, the slightly pleading tone. After almost 30 years, he still called. The old flame. She'd walked away when he cheated on her. No regrets. The first call came in the second year of his marriage; "Can we just meet for a coke? You said we could still be friends." But it was there, just under the surface. The certain knowledge that it was more than coke and conversation that he wanted. She gently closed the door, not wanting to be harsh. "It just isn't a good idea." "I'm seeing someone and he would not like it." "I'll always care for you... yes, we were in love... no, I just can't see you."

Over the years he continued to call, always with the invitation. And always, she was gentle. There was no need to be mean. The past was the past and she held no bitterness. She'd forgiven and forgotten. Maybe that was the problem. She'd forgotten. She'd heard stories over the years. His ruined marriages and relationships. He could not stop cheating.

She was totally and completely in love. She'd met a man who shared her convictions. They enjoyed many of the same things. And, he was open to try new things that she loved, like visiting museums and listening to jazz.

She sat in the big plush chair next to the phone, the light blinking steadily. Slowly she reached over, picked up the receiver and looked. The caller ID had confirmed what she already knew. She dialed, and waited patiently. A friendly voice answered and she responded, "Hello, I'd like to have this number disconnected." "No, I won't be needing another connection at this time. Can you get it done right away?" "Thank you so much."

Taking the receiver, she placed it in the cradle. She knew without a doubt that she had prolonged this moment with her kindness. If she'd been blunt or angry, it would have ended sooner. Standing, she walked over to the wall and unplugged the line. She wrapped it around the old, familiar phone, then walked to the hall closet and placed it in a donation box.

It's done. No more guilt over a love that had been destroyed, and had died, so many years ago. No more blinking red light. No more invitations to turn down.

She'd received a beautiful vase of flowers from her new love last night. Carefully, she moved them to the spot where the telephone had sat. They looked lovely there, and there was just enough room for a photo. A photo of her new love, holding her.

copyright 09/19/08

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Prayer Request for Sally

Please continue to keep my cousin, Sally, in your prayers. She has been making slow and steady progress, but it's a long and difficult road for her. Her sister wrote the following information about a visit with Sally's doctor this morning.

"He compared it to watching grass grow. He said that she is probably not seeing the growth as she is watching it every second, whereas the rest of us see a lawn that just keeps growing. He also compared it to a crockpot versus a microwave-it may take longer, but the end result is better. He assured her that she is making progress every day, and that she has come a long way. He also assured her that emotional times are ok and normal. I think Sally really liked hearing all of this from him. Once again, thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Sally can feel your love... God Bless Sally."

Stroke recovery varies with each individual. There is still concern about Sally's eyesight. Her cognitive skills have improved a lot. Her walking is improving. They have her in the acute rehab unit so that she is receiving intensive therapy for 6 weeks or more as needed. She remains in good spirits most of the time, but does miss home. She is allowed limited visitation so that there is not overwhelming stimulation. Between therapy sessions, they want to be sure she is getting lots of rest which is important to her recovery.

I thank all of you who have continued to pray for Sally! She really has made amazing progress in most areas. I believe your prayers are being heard.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - Coffee

It's time for Sunday Scribblings... See the link in my side bar to visit all the writers that submitted pieces. The prompt this week is coffee.

Coffee, and Other Things I Love

I love coffee. Dark, hot, swirling liquid. It can be black, creamy, sweet, flavored. I rarely met a cup I couldn't enjoy. We have a local coffee house that I love to visit. It's called "The Library Coffee House" and is filled with local arts and crafts to purchase, homemade pastries and meals, and shelves filled with books. The books are not for sale, they are to read while you enjoy your coffee. You select a book and before you leave, you place it on a special reserved shelf to pick up and read the next time. It's a way to draw you back for another visit.

I don't need the draw of the book to get me back. The coffee is superb. My favorite is a vanilla latte. Simple, smooth, slightly sweet. People sit alone reading in a cushy chair or sofa, or they gather in little groups around tables for conversation. The coffee house has guest singers and musicians on several evenings. Some I know and love (Laurie Roberts is one of those, and my niece Nicole used to perform there), and some are new to me.

The atmophere is the draw. Some of my favorite things all gathered together under one roof. Really excellant coffee, books, music, conversation, art... what more could I ask for?

copyright 09/14/08

New Giveaways

Here are a couple more giveaways. See my list under "Fun Giveaways" in the sidebar. I just added one for Rhonda Mum and one for Sweet Old Vintage. Just click on their names to enter.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What I've Been Up To

I decided it was time to update you on what's been happening around here. I mentioned that our church was having a yard sale. It ended up running Friday and Saturday two weekends in a row. I felt well enough to get stuff over there, and I was able to be there to help for 3 1/2 of those days.

I have to admit that I did a bit of shopping myself. If I ever get a working camera, I'll post some "before" photos of what I bought. I have a lot of fun projects on the back burner now. The best part was, I was physically able to get items over there and to help out. I was pretty run down for a few days after, but I was able to accomplish so much more than I did during the preceding three months!

Today has been an absolutely glorious day! The weather has cooled down, and I am loving it. I got outside this morning and worked in my front flower bed. What a mess! It was full of Morning Glory and Gladiolas.

The Morning Glory has been trouble every summer, and I am so tired of Gladiolas. It was a pleasure to dig it all up. I filled two and a half large garden trash bags! There was also a small tree stump, just the right size for tripping over. I got the water going, to soften the dirt, before digging it out! It was firmly rooted in the hard clay soil and took a lot of time. After digging, pushing, pulling... it finally let go. Boy did that feel great! I had to pace myself to get everything done, so it took about four hours, but was so rewarding.

I still have a lot more to do. I want to add compost, and maybe some sand, to the clay soil. The holly bush has gotten huge and needs a good pruning! Then there will have to be a trip to the garden store. I'll be looking for plants that like partial sun and moist, clay soil. Tulips and Hyacinth have done well and are nice for early spring color. I also want to try something for summer that doesn't attract so many bees and wasps. This bed is right outside our door, in front of our little porch. It hasn't been much fun sitting out there because of the wasps.

Monday and Tuesday were spent going through more stuff in my garage. My sis took four big boxes to sell on eBay... I'm so happy to have it gone! I had two boxes of stuff that she couldn't use, so A.R.C. picked it up! I also made a trip to visit Grandma yesterday. I hadn't been over there for weeks! She saw me walk in the door and hollered to me. She was so happy to have me visit. Grandma looked lovely. She'd just had her hair done that morning. We talked about all kinds of things and took a walk (I pushed her wheelchair) to her room. I helped her look for some stockings and slippers. We visited until I had to pickup Lucky 13 from his first Driver's Education Class. Yikes! I know he's 16, but it just came so fast. Where does the time go?

It has really been a blessing to be able to get some things accomplished. I'm tired, but it's a good tired. After so much time of "MS tired"... which basically means being tired for no apparent reason, this feels wonderful! (Hmmm... how many times can I use the word tired before making people want to tear their hair out... Ok. I'll stop now.)

Tomorrow, I tackle the kitchen, family room and bathrooms. Friday is MJ's birthday and we're having a few family members come by for cake. My dream is for the house to be spotless, but even "near spotless" would be grand!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - Miracles

mir'a-cle, n., unusual splendid occurrence

That is the definition in my mother's little "Thumb Ease Webster's Dictionary". It's a paperback, spiral-bound, portable edition. I'm sure there are more detailed definitions in other dictionaries, but I love this one;
Unusual... Splendid... Occurrence...
The words are interesting on their own. Combined, they are beautiful.

My mother had an unusual splendid occurrence. If you believe, as she believed, then she was healed of cancer at the age of 26. A divine miracle. It was a life changing experience for her.

I have often prayed for miracles. Some I've seen fulfilled. The couple who wanted so much to have a child; they explored all options... time passed and still they prayed... odds were stacked against them, but they continued to hope. Now they watch their beautiful daughter laugh and dance and live. Their miracle.

Many times I pray, but the miracle does not come. You might think this would cause me to lose faith in miracles, but you would be wrong. I still pray. I still believe. If a miracle was granted every time I asked, then it would cease to be a miracle. For me it is worth believing in, and waiting for, that sweet moment of an Unusual Splendid Occurrence.

copyright 9/8/2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "Somewhere"


Such a wistful word. It conjures up images of places better than where we are right now. Somewhere Over The Rainbow... Somewhere In Time... Somewhere Out There...

Somewhere expresses the wonders that are just out of reach. It goes hand in hand with some day. It conjures up pictures of dreamy lands where all that you can imagine, or desire, will come true.

Somewhere promises the hope of better things to come. A wish for life to be simpler, sweeter in that Somewhere, someday place.

copyright August 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another Giveaway

Have you checked out "Fun Giveaways" on my sidebar? There are several you can enter. I just added one for Tomatoe Creek Prims. Below is a picture of what you might be winning:

Such cute holiday stitchery items! Be sure to go visit her blog and enter to win.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Enter the Honeysuckle Lane Giveaway!

There is a fun giveaway going on at Honeysuckle Lane's Simple Joys.

I have a link under Fun Giveaways on my sidebar. Honeysuckle Lane is also linked under My Favorite Places, so when you're done entering the giveaway, go to Lana's home page and see what a lovely blog she has!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - How I Met My...

It's time for Sunday Scribblings. The subject is "How I Met My..." and this is my story:

I want to share how I met my Grandpa Mike; my mom's daddy. Although I know he saw me when I was very young, I had no actual memory of him. He was like a character in a story. Mom would tell us things about him now and then. This was usually when we were going through old family photos.

The love of his life, Grandma Ruth, passed away when I was a year old. Mike didn't deal with this loss very well. He became a kind of solitary man that my mother rarely saw. He moved to Wyoming, and that's where he stayed.

My mother lived across the street from the church we attended. I was 19. I had been out with friends and had pulled into the church parking lot to finish our conversation. They left to head home, and that's when I noticed a man walking around mom's house in the dark. She worked nights and wasn't home, but my little brother was inside by himself. This man was peering into the windows and trying the doorknobs.

I am not a brave person, but something stirred up in me. I pulled my car closer, walked up to the man, looked him in the eye, and said "Can I help you with something?" He looked me right back in the eye, "I'm looking for someone who lives here."

"You're looking for Leah? Who are you?"

"Well, I'm her dad! Who the hell are you?"

I was stunned. This little man, no taller than I, didn't look anything like the man in the photos. He was old, and small and thin. "Well, I'm her daughter!" I answered him.

His mouth dropped open, he grinned a huge grin and said, "That means you're my granddaughter!" Then he grabbed me and gave me a hug.

That was the beginning of a unique relationship. This grandpa was nothing like the grandpa that had raised me. He was an old cowboy, who livened up a conversation with a smattering of profanity that made my mom blush.

We took grandpa to church with us the next morning. He and mom were seated a few rows behind me. My uncle was giving the sermon. Then I clearly heard Grandpa Mike's voice in a loud whisper, "When's that guy gonna stop yackin?"

I turned slightly and made eye contact with mom. She was red-faced. A minute or two later I heard a loud whisper, "I'm gettin' the hell outa here." As I turned again, I saw grandpa stand and say it louder, "I'm gettin' the hell outa here!" He turned and headed for the door. Mom sent my brother over to the house, to keep grandpa company, till service was over.

I didn't dare look mom in the eye this time. It was one of those moments, when I knew it would not take much for me to be laughing right out loud.

I would love to have the chance for one more conversation with Grandpa Mike. He added a lot of color to our lives!

copyright 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Brenda Photo Challenge

I have moved my pictures for The Brenda Photo Challenge to Nitajos Photos (links to both places are on my sidebar). I hope you'll go over and take a look at all the entries. The word prompt was "Sweets" and was a fun one to do.

The big garage sale is going well. I've emptied a lot of stuff from my home and garage. I've made over $500.00 the first day, even with a light turnout. Now if only my table and chairs sell, I'll be so happy!

And of course, I had to pick up a few treasures of my own. I'll try to get some pictures on here by the first of the week. It's been a busy, fun day!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Just a Note

I wanted to say a quick "Thank You" for all the wonderful comments that have been left for me. Writing is a love of mine, so I am happy when it touches someone.

I may be scarce for the next several days as I am getting ready for a huge church rummage sale! My garage is calling me.

Please come and visit me again.

Nita Jo

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - Observations

My Observations

On sharing...
I don't like sharing or revealing too much of myself.
If you really get to know me,
Who I am inside and out,
I may not be who you thought I was and
Become unworthy of your friendship.

and... I crave sharing and revealing myself.
My voice wants to come out in my writing, or in art.
If you knew the very heart of me,
What makes me tick, where I spring from,
You may understand, and possibly come to love our friendship.

On writing...
I study every word I write,
Deleting, revising, editing,
Just as I desire to edit every word I speak,
Making sure my words do not hurt, offend,
Or separate us as friends.

and... I write with abandon, seated at my desk,
Letting the words come freely.
Whatever thought springs into my heart, and into my mind
At that moment, flow uncensored onto the page.
Because of this, my friends will know, and see, me.

On faith...
I am hesitant to share my faith.
It offends some, it makes some wary,
It sets me up for failure.
My friends may despise my imperfections
And turn away from faith,
As a result of my failings.

and... I want so much to share my faith,
It sustains me, it changes me,
It brings me hope even when I fail.
My friends should have this too, a
Life sustaining faith that each of us is still God's own
If, and even when, we fail.

On me...
There are two opposing sides to me;
One based on insecurities,
The other based on freedom of my spirit.
I may be unique, but I doubt that.
The trick is to find the balance between
My obsessive observations and
Just being comfortable with who I am,
A human being, flawed,
Imperfect, but still loved and forgiven.

Just like my friends...

Copyright, Aug. 2008

Faith Folk Cafe - Friday Challenge

Please visit Faith Folk Cafe and check out Pam Warden's Friday Challenge. She posted two questions. You post your answer in the comments section. Even if you choose not to comment, it is a unique and uplifting blog to visit. You can go there by clicking on the title of this post.

I shared about how I am thankful for so many things today. My health has improved a bit the past couple of days. This is after weeks of dealing with what is called an exacerbation of my Multiple Sclerosis. I tire very easily, my muscles have gotten weaker, and my vision has been affected. I have had to wrestle with not allowing myself to become discouraged, and I'm not ashamed to admit I've had some dark days. Because I live with MS, keeping my home in order is very difficult at times.

Now, before this starts sounding like a pity party, I have to say that God has blessed me abundantly in my life. I have a husband who stands beside me no matter what comes. I have two wonderful sons, when doctor's told me I would most likely not have children. I know what a tremendous blessing that is. It's like I've shared before, I cannot let my circumstances determine my faith.

The other thing I am thankful for today is that my cousin Sally, who many have been praying for, is improving from her stroke a little bit every day. I am thankful for her continued improvement. She has now been moved to the rehab area of the hospital. Please continue to hold her in your prayers. If you want to see who you are praying for, visit Nitajos Photos (link over to the right), where I have posted a picture of Sally.

I plan on serving God by serving my family. This weekend is a time for reclaiming some order in my home. God has blessed me with an improvement in my health, and I want to share that with my family. I have made plans to purge some excess "stuff" from my home. Some will be donated, some will go into my church's rummage sale, and some may go to Freecycle.

God has placed some ideas and dreams in my heart. I am praying for guidance in making decisions in the areas of writing and art/crafts. I also hope that by pursuing the dreams that have been placed in my heart, I will honor God.

I am thankful for the questions posted at Faith Folk Cafe. It challenged me to do some reflecting. Please take the time to visit, and while you are there, be sure to read the interview with artist, Jane DesRosier. She is a favorite artist of mine, and she is also the newest member of Faith Folk Cafe, joining with Pam and Mystele.

Nita Jo

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Faith over Fear

In honor of Faith and of Angels, I am posting these two Free Images for you to copy. If you click on the image, it should enlarge so you can save it to your files. I know one says Easter Greeting, but she was so cute I didn't want to leave her out.
I've just been thinking about how blessed I am. No matter what the trial, I feel like angels are watching over me. That's not to say I have an easy life, it's just that my faith keeps me on firm footing.

I want to be resilient when fear tries to wash over me. It's work for me to look at the glass as half full... I'm naturally geared to seeing the worst case scenario and trying to imagine how I could get myself out of that one. For example, I saw a little boy on the news today. He was from Tennessee and had been attacked by a bear during a family camping trip. I knew exactly how he felt when he said something along the line of, "I told my dad a bear would get us." Then he kind of rolled his eyes up toward dad like "I told you so." It made me smile. I hope the experience doen't cause him to carry fear with him, but that surviving it will give him strength and faith.

I'm the "girl" who was always afraid of the dark, wild animals, boogie men, etc. Lions and Tigers and Bears.... Oh MY! I was really afraid of the flying monkees and the wicked witch! I just knew at any given moment I could be killed in a car, my plane would crash, I'd be robbed, my house would burn down (in my own defense, I had many near misses which may have fed the fear... I may share one or two on another day).

Sometimes I was right to be afraid, but to be wary doesn't mean to live in the fear. Even as an adult, I often have to "have a talk" with myself. "Have faith... don't be so negative... pray... believe... hope... and have peace". I doubt I'm the only one out there. So to all you "half empties"...

Take Peace, Hold Hope In Your Heart, Trust God, Have Faith...

Nita Jo

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

School, Art, Yard Sale...

This has been a busy week for me. Lucky 13 had registration yesterday. We waited until the last hour of the schedule, just hoping everyone else hadn't done the same. It was the quickest, easiest school registration we ever had. Even the photographer was relaxed and L-13's photo turned out great! He's so happy to have his braces off, and I had him leave the retainer at home so it wouldn't have to be in the pictures. He's getting all the classes he wanted, but won't know the exact order until the first day of school. I'm just happy he's decided to stay in Orchestra. He plays the cello and I love listening to him play.

Today, after getting home from an appointment, I spent a long time reading through older posts of Gail at Shabby Cottage Studio (her link is over on the side bar under My Favorite Places). It was fun to follow her blogging progress from when she began up till the present. She has created so many beautiful pieces of art. It was a relaxing way to spend my time.

I also spent some time scanning old photographs that I hope to use in some of my artwork. I even found a Marriage Certificate from the 1930's and a Report Card that belonged to my Grandma Ruth. I plan to make some type of collage, incorporating these with photos of her. When I get one finished, I will post a photo.

My church is hosting a huge two-day yard sale in two weeks. I have tons of stuff to get ready for the sale. I'm looking forward to doing a little shopping myself. I'm hoping to find a few treasures.

If I don't get around to posting much, it will be because I'm in my garage digging through boxes and trying to convince myself it's time to sell. If I don't get rid of some stuff, I won't have room for anything new!

Before I forget, check out the new photos I added to my photo blog (click on Nitajos Photos over to the right). There's a nice picture of PJ and his 52 Chevy.

Well, goodnight dear friends... I'm off to watch an episode of the Gilmore Girls before I fall to sleep for the night!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sunday Scribblings

Following is my piece for Sunday Scribblings. The theme was "ask". I wrote this for my uncle, in memory of his life partner, Madeline, who passed away this week. I think many of us have asked questions like these during a time of loss.


If I sit quietly and focus
Will I hear your voice in the wind or see
your face in the distance?

Can you hear me when I whisper
your name into the starlit night, saying
I will always love you?

Will you remember me
As I remember you, in the quiet moments
of every hour, every day?

And the day you died
was the rainbow, framed in a cloudless sky,
your secret message to me?

May you be at peace,
knowing you forever hold a place in
my broken heart.

Brenda Photo Challenge - "Play"

This time the theme is "Play"
I love to "play" the radio!

Here's Lucky 13 and a classmate "play"ing
their cellos with the school orchestra!

And here's a band I fell in love with
on a trip to Blue River, Oregon...
You should have heard them "play"
...even if it was only in my mind!

I hope everyone had as much fun with this challenge as I did!
Go to The Brenda Photo Challenge link to see the other entries.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mind Wide Open... and why I didn't enter...

I am posting my creation for this month's Mind Wide Open challenge. It was so much fun to try, but I got the dates mixed up. I'm also trying to do Brenda's Photo Challenge. It's due tomorrow, and the MWO was due last night.

To top off my mixup, I just spent the last 6 hours resetting my computer (wouldn't let me go online this afternoon) and my camera (would not load my pictures). Everything seems to be working now, so I may have my photos ready for tomorrow's Photo Challenge... we shall see.

Anyway, here is the picture I would have entered if I'd marked it on my calendar! It's a mixed media piece... charcoal drawing on heavy water color paper, with water color crayon accents, collage, lace accents, and the inspiration I came up with using the word "Secret". I printed it on heavy paper, tore the edges, and accented them with a bit of color.

Secret Love
Locked Away, Hidden
She Keeps Her Heart Safe
And Alone

This challenge was fun for me, and I have a piece of art that will go nicely in my bedroom.

Please visit the Mind Wide Open challenge (click on the picture link on my sidebar). There are some beautiful pieces this month. Vote for your favorite!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I Should Be Sleeping

It's 2:54 am and I'm sitting here at the computer. I just finished reading an update on Sally. Thanks to all the prayers, she has been moved out of ICU. She's in a quiet room and most of the tubes, etc. no longer have to be used. She was able to eat solid food today. I'm sure it was a wonderful change from soup & jello... She still needs plenty of rest and quiet, but this is such good news. God has been gracious.

It has been such an odd week. There have been other needs in family & friends lives, it's time to think about school shopping and registration for Lucky 13, our kitty has been sick, and I've been trying to focus on the Mind Wide Open Challenge and the Brenda Photo Challenge. I have not finished either one yet. I'm still trying though. They are both so much fun.

Well, my burst of late night energy has waned... I think I'll go take a nap.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Please Keep Praying For Sally

I shared a prayer request with all of you last week. It was for my cousin, Sally. She is making progress in her recovery, but still needs all the prayers you can send her way.

Sally has at least one family member with her at all times. They made a schedule to make sure she is not alone at any time. She's now eating, but doesn't care for the hospital food. I have to agree with her on that point. She's remembering a lot of things from the past, but recent memory is still not as good. Stroke recovery can be a long journey, but we are believing for it.

Thank you, in advance, for keeping her in your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sunday Scribblings... Do I Have To?

This is my first attempt at Sunday Scribblings. I wasn't exactly sure what was expected, but the following story is what came to mind when I read...

Do I Have To

"Do I have to?" The words hung in the air between us. Me, confined to the sofa for another day of pain, and Bobby, 13 and frustrated. "No." I answered, meaning yes, please, can't you help out just this once. Years of giving in, not wanting my only child to suffer. Children should have fun. Isn't that right?

If I were a normal healthy mom, I would be doing the laundry and the cleaning myself. In the back of my mind I knew that I was doing him no good, but I couldn’t bear to see the hurt or the anger. It was easier to give in, to put the smile back on his face. I’d feel better later, and I could do it then.

It isn’t Bobby’s fault that I had that terrible accident. He deserved a mom without a disability; one who could have ridden bikes with him or tossed a ball around. Life had been unfair to him. Not that I thought it had been exactly fair to me, but what is fair anyhow? I knew dozens of people worse off that I was. Who was I to complain?

My attention focused back on Bobby, “No, you don’t have to, but it would mean so much to me if you would try. Just see how much you can accomplish in the next hour, then you can go to Jack’s house for a while.”

"But really? Mom? Do I have to do it now?" he pleaded.

"Yes. You really need to do it now, son."

The eyebrows went up, eyes rolled, but I held my ground. It was like I could hear Dad saying, “Now or never. Do you want to mold him into a man or keep him as your child for the rest of his life?” I thought of my brother. I knew it was time to step up. To require more, not for me, for him!

As he dragged his feet pathetically down the hall to the laundry room, I knew I’d answered his question in the best possible way.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Tommy!

Today is my little brother's birthday

He was promoted to the next life in the summer of 2000
It was less than 2 months after I received my MS diagnosis
It was just a few months before mom
received her diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer
It was a year of change for my entire family
But, as always,
God was faithful to help us through it all...

Here are a few remembrances and photos...

Tommy had three names because momma and I couldn't agree
and she had said I could help choose his name

it was George Thomas Gregory Roberts

I adored him...

He loved cowboys... so did I. This is "Bad Guy, Good Guy"

Here we are in "The Seventies", oh my....

Tom and Lana
He had just gotten home from his time in the National Guard

With our Uncle Tom, getting ready to go boating...
I love this picture.

My very favorite picture,
the one we used for his memorial service
got lost when my computer crashed a while back.
When I find the original, I will add it here.

It is of Tom riding in the boat
That's how I like to think of him
Sailing along somewhere, with no more cares
Maybe looking in on us once in a while
Not too much though...
I'm sure there is plenty to do
in Heaven....

Happy Birthday Tommy!
You know I love you...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Prayer Request

My cousin, Sally, had a stroke Sunday evening. Family and friends have been holding her in prayer. She is now conscious and has been able to communicate. She has some movement in arms and legs, and most importantly, knows her family and knows where she is (though she wants to go home).

She is healthy and strong, a dancer, but the bloodclot is in a dangerous place. Her recovery may take quite some time. She needs a miracle.

I would appreciate those of you who pray, to pray with us believing for that miracle.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Change of Plans

Well, plans fell through for me. I was supposed to be up at our Church Camp with PJ and Lucky13, but there were other plans for me. I had not been feeling the greatest. Monday came and I still felt under the weather, so I made a decision to stay home. I have felt a real peace about my decision, and I'm not totally on my own... older son is still here when he's not at work or out with friends that is.

Two years ago we had to miss the camp. I was very sad the entire week. I was not well enough to go, but I missed it so much. Church Camp has been a part of my life since I was 7 years old. At least that's the first year I remember going. It's always a fun week full of spiritual activies, recreational activities, and just time to get acquainted with new friends or spend time with old ones.

So far, reports are that husband and son are having a great time! They went fully armed with mosquito repellant, but I forgot to send the sunscreen... it's always something. It's like when you forget to serve the jello salad or the sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving until everyone is too full to care.

My husband got West Nile Virus a couple of years ago, so we are extremely careful about the mosquito repellant. He recovered, but it was a slow process. He still doesn't have the energy he had before. We are so fortunate though. Lives have been lost and some have difficult long term disabilities. A childhood schoolmate is making a slow recovery from paralysis resulting from West Nile. He was infected the same summer as my husband. He's thankful for the progress he makes each day.

I've heard these things referred to as "speed bumps"... they make you slow down and take another look at your life and where it's going. I think sometimes they could more aptly be described as gigantic sink holes or craters. Faith, and a sense of humor, are sometimes all that gets us through them. It sometimes helps to look back on your happy times and laugh again.

Here are a few pictures from past camps that make me smile:
PJ & I three years ago

Water Curling... Points earned by how far your teammate slides.
Two of my Very Favorite Cousins, Kevin and Laurie
From "several" years ago Kathryn & Joe, Grandma Martha & Grandpa Evert, Robin & Kent (another cousin... Oh my, I'd forgotten bout that beard!)
I love this old photo. I have hundreds more, but no time or room to post them. I'll save some for another day.

Random Note: On the Free Images I posted, I noticed that when you click on the image, they are not enlarging as some of my photos do. I'm not sure why, but it may affect the size of the image you are able to save. I have checked out the "Help" section to no avail. If anyone out there in blogland knows the answer, please post it in my comments section. I would appreciate it so much. I have a few more royalty free images that I'd love to share sometime.

Anyway... When I'm not resting and trying to get back to normal (whatever that is), I'm still here at my computer.

May your day be blessed with sunshine and smiles.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Be Back Soon...

I will not have access to my computer for about a week. I hope you will come back and visit me then. I don't know how I'll cope without my computer. Funny how much we depend on them for business, social, and just fun things. I'm missing it already just thinking about it.

In the meantime, here are a couple of Free Images. Just right click on the image and save it to your PC. I hope you enjoy them. The first one is from a vintage card. I thought the flowers and the fan were very pretty.

This second image is from a collection of Kate Greenaway images.

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Brenda Photo Challenge - NUMBERS

Okay.... here goes for my first attempt at
The Brenda Photo Challenge...


License Plates... identifying where we come from
my husband was born in North Dakota,
and I'm an Idaho gal!

Music consists of Numbers...

Music Book Pages
Finger Positions
Counting the Beat
Playing in 4/4 Time

And my favorite for last
Numbered in Order
Just waiting to be opened and read one by one!

This has been fun to do!

Karen of Loved and Engraved, is the host for this challenge.
Go to her blog for the links to the other participants.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Incorrigible Bragging... and the Tasmanian Devil...

Good afternoon! Thursday was an amazing day. I had an early lunch with my little sis, and my cousin, Laurie. We had lots to talk about! My nephew recently graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in LA. We're all so proud of him. Here are a couple of recent photos.

Of course, we think he is just wonderful! We look forward to seeing where his career will take him!

My sis, my cousin, and I always have a fun time getting together, reminiscing, and sharing what's new in our lives. My sis spends much of her free time involved with the local film and theatre community. She's done some acting, some behind the scenes work... just whatever they ask of her. She loves it. As you can see from the pictures, it runs in the family.

I've talked about Laurie before. Her new CD is wonderful, as was her first. If you click on the title of her CD, "Perhaps God", over to the right side of my blog, it will take you to where you can hear samples of her work. You can also read about who she is, and there is a link to her first CD. I will probably bring up her music again, because I think it is so inspiring and I'd like people to get to know this amazing Christian artist. If you want to read my former blog about the cd, it's called Perhaps God and was posted June 12, 2008.

Ok... enough bragging, though it is well deserved...

Our kitty is driving me to distraction. She is unhappy that my oldest son is rarely here. He is the one who rescued her from being sent to the local animal shelter. Her owner abandoned her at the veterinarian office where MJ used to work. He fell for her sweet, quiet ways. Now, she "meows" with sad abandon at the door to his empty room. It's alternately sweet and annoying.

Poor Mooska. MJ now works longer hours doing graphics for a local news station. She tries to get some attention from my younger son, EJ, but he keeps himself very busy too. Mooska is letting me know by her pitiful crys. When she's not doing that, she is wrapped around my ankles. I've nearly fallen on my face while trying to avoid stepping on her. She whips around my ankles like a whirling dervish... think Tasmanian Devil.

I warned her last night that if I do fall, she will be certainly crushed to death under the weight of a 50 something, XL, somewhat irritated, mom of two. She threw me a rather nasty look. Really. I know you all think I'm the nutty one of the two (after all, I'm conversing with my cat), but I'm sure she was giving me "the look". The one we gave our kids when we were trying to keep them quiet in church, or from misbehaving in a crowded restaurant.

Well, on that thought I bid you a happy, blessed day!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just Plain Fun To Read

I was so honored to receive this "just plain fun to read" award from Inland Empire Girl.
Check out her blog by clicking on the link in "My Favorite Places". If she hadn't just received this award, I would have given it to her. She is always a fun read!

I love everyone on my favorites list, but today I am passing this award on to the following three ladies, who never fail to brighten my day:

Dawn at

LaTeaDa at

DarLy at

Friday, July 18, 2008

Enter Giveaway

Tammy of Country Girl At Home has opened her Etsy Shop. To celebrate, she is hosting a Giveaway of two beautiful handmade shutters.

To enter, first visit her shop and take a look at her items. Next, go to her blog and read about the contest.

The links to Country Girl At Home, and her Etsy Shop, are found below listed with "My Favorite Places".