Friday, December 30, 2011

Hello Friends...

Christmas has come and gone.  It's been a busy month.  Every time I thought about posting, something always seemed to take priority.  A lot of things went by the wayside, but my family had a joyful, quiet Christmas. 

Like many of you, I'm looking forward to the new year.  I have expectations of better things ahead.  I'm not alone when I say, this has been a difficult year for us in finances, health, and the unexpected.  It has also been a year of growth.  I've had to make the best of every situation, sometimes finding new ways of looking at life.  Some things were lost, some set aside, and some were restored.  My faith has been strengthened through it all.  Despite all the negative voices, I believe in a bright future!  Sometimes it's nice to just turn off the TV, the radio, the noise, and spend some hopeful time in quiet contemplation. 

I'm wishing you renewed faith, quiet moments, the love of family & friends, and a New Year filled with peace.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

To Dwell In Primitive Thymes...

I've followed TDIPT, To Dwell In Primitive Thymes, for a long while.  It is a gathering of artists, who love, create, and sell primitive art.  A while back, I entered a drawing on their blog.  There were some really lovely pieces of art.  One in particular caught my eye, and to my surprise, I won that piece!  Here is a photo of it:



I love this Santa painting!  I may leave it on display year round.  It has so many sweet details... the red cardinals, the lambs in Santa's bag, the little bunny sitting by the tree... Love it!

A huge "Thank you" to the artist, Sue Nagle of Paint in Thyme!  To see more of her beautiful artwork, go HERE.  I also want to thank TDIPT for hosting this amazing Giveaway!  To check out the other artists of TDIPT, click THIS!  Warning... you may see something that you just can't live without!  Have a glorious day!

Check Them Out...

There are a couple of blogs I've been enjoying lately.  The first one is called The Four of Us.  It's written by a young Christian mother, Julia McAllister, who has had a lot to deal with.  It's definitely worth a read.  Her December 9th post titled The "Pause" Moment is a beautiful reflection on some of the things that have happened in her family's life.

Another blog I love is Forever in First, by Tammy McMorrow.  Yes, she's the same Tammy that sings on the Christmas CD, Tidings, that I've shared with you.  Tammy has been a first grade teacher for 18 years.  Her love of teaching shines through in her posts.  She shares creative ideas that have worked with her first graders, as well as some sweet and humorous moments that have happened.  Scroll down and read her post called Inspired to RACK and see the list of activities she has her students do.  The point is to teach them how it feels to show kindness without expecting anything in return.

I hope these two ladies inspire you as much as they have inspired me!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Another New Video...

This video has a slide show featuring the families of Laurie and Tammy.
You can hear more of their music on YouTube, 
and you can download the album at iTunes or CDbaby.com!
Enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's December, and Changes Just Keep Coming...

My  heart is going so many directions today.  I'm just getting over a flu bug.  It decided to hit the day I brought my husband home from the hospital.  He had two hernias repaired.  He's been in quite a bit of pain.  You forget how much you use some of those lower abdominal muscles.  He's doing much better today, as am I.  It's strange to have PJ out of commission, he's one of those guys that rarely gets sick and always likes to be busy.  Now that he's in less pain, maybe he can enjoy the two weeks at home.  He'll have time to caught up on some reading and watch some of those movies he hasn't gotten to see.

My youngest son received his High School Diploma this fall.  It was a long journey for him, overcoming illness and delays.  We still haven't planned a celebration, but hope to do that in the spring.  He is looking at schools and making decisions on what he wants to do.  He is still very interested in computer engineering, producing videos, and continuing with his cello.  Recently, he built his own PC!  It has all the bells and whistles that he's always wanted.  He's also started a fitness plan and is dropping weight!  I may have to hire him as my trainer.  Maybe after the holidays are over with. 

My youngest, EJ, building his own computer!

My oldest son was living with us for the past few months.  He found a roommate that he gets along with very well, and they found their dream apartment.  It's in the upstairs of an old home.  It's so nice.  He moved over Thanksgiving weekend.  I'm thankful that he's just in the next town.  He already told me he plans to come to our home for Christmas Eve and spent the night!  I'm glad of that.  I'm not quite ready to give up my Christmas mornings with my boys.  I will probably never be.

My niece leaves for Seattle on Friday morning.  I'm going to miss her so much.  She's been my Gilmore Girls and movie buddy.  It just won't be the same without her around.  I'm definitely going to feel it on Christmas Eve, which is our traditional holiday time together.  She's rooming with her sis and friends, so she already has a home waiting.  She'll be joining the music scene in Seattle, and I hope this will jump start a career for her.  She has awesome talent!

Speaking of Christmas, I have to share this YouTube video.  This is my cousin, Laurie and honorary cousin, Tammy.  They created a Christmas CD last year, and this is one of the songs from it.  Don't forget to pause my Playlist first.  This is one of my very favorite Christmas songs.  I hope it blesses you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas, Fruitcake, and Healing...

Those who know me well already know this, I haven't been able to celebrate "Christmas in my heart" for the past few years.  I did celebrate, but the deep joy was missing.  Maybe it was my health, or maybe it was too much loss, I'm not really sure.  I would make plans and not follow through.  Promises to bake all the traditional dishes, even to the point of buying nuts, spices, fruits, etc. only to toss or donate after the holidays were over with.  Plans to visit friends and go to concerts all cancelled at the last minute.  Using my messy house as an excuse not to invite folks in.  So, when I had my husband buy all the ingredients for his mother's fruitcake recipe, I think I saw a little eye roll and heard a bit of a sigh. 

Well, tonight the fruitcake is in the oven!  I never truly appreciated the work involved.  The batter is heavy, so heavy that my big spoon broke right in two!  That did not deter me.  I stirred the 7 cups of flour, 1 1/2 cups of butter, the sour cream, the brandy, the fruit, the nuts.  It reminded me of kneading bread!  My arms are so tired, but I got it all in the oven just in time to sit and watch the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree light up!  I had been listening to all the beautiful music while I worked.

I never really cared for fruitcake (sorry Grandma), but my mother-in-law's recipe was unique.  I'm hoping my first attempt will do her justice.  It's been a lot of years since my family had Grandma Jahner fruitcake.  I plan to make a few more treasured recipes during the next three weeks.  And yes, I will be starting a "diet" after the holidays.  For now, I'm going to celebrate all that is good and fun and delightful! 

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me."
-
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lines...

For the past couple of days, people have been lining up for the midnight sales that start tonight.  One part of me says they're crazy, even greedy.  They could be spending the day with family.  On the other hand, maybe it's the only chance they have to give their family the things many of us take for granted.  Nice dishes, a coffee maker, toys for their child's Christmas, a television set, linens, clothing.  As I sit here this morning typing on this PC that I am thankful to have, sipping a hot cup of coffee from the Keurig, and listening to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the background, I realize that I am abundantly blessed.  I shouldn't judge those who are willing to camp out, in the freezing cold, to get a little more of their American dream. 

As I wish you Happy Thanksgiving, I'm so grateful for my family and for all we have.  Many people this holiday season are without jobs, standing in food lines, wondering what the future will bring.  In today's paper there is a photo of a young soldier in uniform, with his family, standing in a food line.  It's wrong, so very wrong.  

I'm praying for a light, and an answer, in this current economic darkness.  May God bless each of you today, and fill your homes with peace and love.                               

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm still here...

Busy life these days.  I've been getting over a cold, working on projects, making Christmas shopping lists.  My 55th birthday came and went.  It was a good day, other than being a bit under the weather.  This birthday made me very reflective about my life, because my dad passed away at 55 from cancer.  When it happened, I thought he was way too young to be gone.  Nothing has made that more clear than reaching 55 myself.  I have so much life I still want to live... so many things waiting to be done.  It's a wake-up call to get with it.  Make time for the people I love.  Do the things I've been putting off.  Appreciate every day that I'm given.  I'm so thankful for my life, my family, my friends.  Wishing each of you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 4, 2011

What Happened To October?

Oh my! Time flew away while I was busy enjoying the warm days, crisp nights, and colorful leaves.  I woke up today and it really is November!  It's been raining/snowing/raining/cold/wintry, and I just wasn't ready for that.  Oh well, I have started my Christmas shopping and list making.  I took down the Halloween stuff and put up the Thanksgiving decor.  I'm ready for whatever comes!

One wonderful thing that happened this week... my youngest son got all the pieces and parts delivered yesterday and sometime in the wee hours of the morning, he built his own computer!  The best part, he's selling me this one at a great discount, so now I have my own PC again.  I'm thrilled!

Warm thoughts going out to all the folks with outside jobs, like my husband.  He is one of the dedicated employees of the Post Office who will deliver your mail, no matter what the weather!  It is totally worth the price of a stamp to me!  I love getting mail... real mail... the kind you hold in your hand.  Post cards, letters, packages, fun! 

Oh, and while I'm talking about the Post Office, I just have to rant a bit...
I'm heard a lot of comments about packages being destroyed by letter carriers.  You would not believe how poorly people wrap packages to be sent through the mail.  Please wrap it like it's going to be tossed into a truck, onto a plane, stacked under hundreds of other boxes... not like you're hand-carrying it to Grandma's house in your own car.  By the time precious boxes of goodies reach your own letter carrier, they have traveled many miles under rigorous conditions.  And please be good to your carriers.  My husband has delivered everything from bills and birthday cards to live chicks and the ashes of somebody's loved one.  He takes pride in his job.  He watches out for the people on his route, especially the elderly. The following quote became part of the USPS 2001 Comprehensive Statement on Postal Operations.  It's a creed my husband lives by.

We are mothers and fathers. And sons and daughters. Who every day go about our lives with duty, honor and pride. And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor the winds of change, nor a nation challenged, will stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds. Ever.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Reflections...

Autumn is always a time of reflection for me.  Today is especially poignant.  October 7th was my grandparents anniversary.  They married very young.  They weathered so many things that life tossed at them, and made a decision to stay together, through the wonderful and through the sad.  That decision wasn't made once, on that long ago wedding day.  It was made over, and over again.  When the storm winds came, when doubts assailed, when tears fell like autumn rain, they made the decision to stay. 

As I look back on my life, I can see where their example influenced my decisions to stick it out.  Not easy, but it was right for me.  I'm not saying some folks shouldn't part ways.  I've seen lives begin again, in beautiful ways, when two people realize they are creating more pain than joy.  For me, working through the hard times has made me a stronger, happier person.  I have a husband who really knows me.  He knows me better than my own family does, and so far, he hasn't run screaming from the house.  I am so blessed. 

On this crisp, cloudy, beautiful autumn day, I can say that I am happy for the journey.  For all of it!  Bumps in the road, storms, tears and all.  The hard times have made the sweet, even better.  Remind me of that, the next time I'm having "one of those days" and am feeling inconsolable.  Sunshine and cool breezes are just around the corner.  God doesn't leave us... we leave Him... just tell me to turn around and look.  He is right there.  Love is right there, and it was there all the time.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Autumn is coming...

After a night of rain and thunder, today has been mild and much cooler.  I've been longing for Autumn, and it now feels like it's just around the corner.  I hope we get a long, drawn out, fall season.  I love when the leaves stay on for weeks, all yellows, oranges, and golds!

I've been trying to get stuff gathered for a big yard sale, but keep running out of steam.  It doesn't matter though, I'm getting it boxed up and if there's no sale, the Idaho Youth Ranch, St. Vincent's and ARC will all benefit!

I'm going to be looking into getting a new PC or maybe a Mac.  Can't decide which way to go.  I use mine for writing, photos, and internet, so I want tons of space and high speed.  Any suggestions?

Well, BSU football starts in half an hour, so I'd better get busy.  I need to prep some healthy snacks before game time!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Time passed so very quickly...

It's been a busy week, but I just wanted to say "Hello" to all!  My oldest son celebrated his "quarter century" birthday on Monday.  How can that be? It seems like yesterday I was waiting for his arrival.

And soon he'd arrived...

I can't post all the photos that are precious to me, but here's one I love...

My son has given us so many moments of Joy... and still does!  He makes this world a brighter, better place, and I am a better person for having known him.  I am blessed!

Friday, September 2, 2011

September...

September arrived yesterday without a lot of fanfare.  The temperatures dropped a bit, and I'm loving it.  I'm still pretty much housebound, and that would be fine if I could just get my house clean and in order.  Seems like every project I begin gets stalled.  I either get distracted or too tired.  I'm really hoping the cooler weather will help kick my energy into high gear. 

I posted this on my FB page...
Doctor's office phoned and woke me a couple hours ago. She says, "Your results... Oh, hold on a minute." Waited, waited, waited. Comes back on, "I'll have to call you back." What?!
And, I am still waiting.  I am refusing to be anxious, but it does keep trying to creep up on me.  Like a scary movie, you don't know what's around the corner.  The spooky music is playing, getting a bit louder.  Here's hoping it's nothing.  Music fades, birds singing happily, all's right with the world.

UPDATE:

Shortly after writing this, I received my second phone call. I tested positive for PML, which means I am no longer a candidate to receive treatment with Tysabri for the Multiple Sclerosis.  Now we have to look at the pros and cons of Gilenya, a newer MS medication that's only been out for about a year.  This means more blood tests, eye tests, etc., and then approval from my insurance.  It will take a month or more.

So, not so much of birds singing happily. The music is still a little scary, and I do not know what is lurking around that next corner.  It's still an amazing world, I'm thankful to be living, and there is always hope.  I still have hope.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Late Night Poetry...

Before anyone gets too concerned, I'm doing ok.  This poem comes from that sad, dark place that many of us get to at one time or another.  Sometimes the words are just there, waiting to be written. I'm not sure why, but maybe it will resonate with you. 


The vessel, once beautiful and bright,
is cracked and damaged,
and no longer functions.

She is broken, thoughts
can't be contained and
drift unfettered out and away,
like water disappearing,
leaving her dry and useless.


ajj 01Sept11

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More Watching and Waiting...

My last post was about needing hope and courage in the face of life's storms.  While I continue to battle the waves of my own storm, there are so many others out there also trying to stay afloat. 

If you have an extra moment today, say a prayer for Gabriel's Heart.  You can read about baby Gabriel and his family Here.  Pray for his sweet momma too, for strength and for continued peace.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Watching and waiting

Prayers are going out to our East Coast friends during this terrible storm we're calling Irene

Storms like this one remind me of storms that come into people's lives.  Some are just passing minor events, and then there are those big ones.  The ones that do damage, that leave sorrow and devastation in their wake.  All we can do when faced with such ferocity, is stand fast and be courageous. 

For my friends who are going through personal Irene's, I wish you peace.  For those facing this natural monster of a storm, Irene, I pray for your protection and a huge measure of courage.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Melancholy...

In between moments of fun and the busyness of life, I've had a weird, weepy melancholy the past few days.  My grandma's best friend turned 80 on Saturday.  I wanted to be there to celebrate with her, but travel is not an option right now.  That was also the one year anniversary of my grandma's passing.  I guess that added to the emotions.

So many things have happened in my life over this past year.  I'm in a place of reflection and self-examination.  I have a clearer picture of things I want to accomplish, and I'm hoping to have the strength to get them done.  I also know what I'm ready to let go of.

I dusted off my piano the other day and sat down to play.  I was shocked at how difficult it is now.  Music is one of those things that requires practice to maintain, and I can't remember the last time I played.  I wasn't very good, but I discovered it still gives me great joy to make music.  I've promised to make more time for the things that give me joy.  Playing the piano, reading a good book, spending time with family and friends.  All those things and more.

I just found this post by a friend.  She shared the poem, The Pleasures of Ordinary Life.  It speaks to what I've been feeling.  You can find it Here, at Gathering Round the Table. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

No Surgery!

The lesions on my spine are significant, one in particular is responsible for the loss of feeling in my feet and legs.  I'm still looking at some nasty MS drugs to stop the progression of this disease, but I do not have to have neck surgery at this time!  There are bone spurs in my neck that can be treated with an epidural of steroids.  I'll have to do this treatment once a year.  I'm also starting physical therapy, which will address the neck problems and the MS.  They are going to put me in a class that does exercises in the pool!  Nice!  Now if I can only find a cute "supersized" swimsuit!  Lol!

I have decided I need to try to find work I can do from home.  A little extra income would be so nice.  Any ideas out there?

Nina Simone is singing "Little Sugar In My Bowl"... it is so bluesy/jazzy/relaxing... My home is nice and cool.  Outside it is another blistering "hot sauna" afternoon.  I think I'll go watch a little HGTV!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Time For Courage

I received the results of my MRI last night.  My GP phoned me.  It was two-fold, spinal cord lesions from the MS and further collapse of the vertebrae in my neck.  For me, this means going on some pretty dangerous medication for the MS and surgery on my neck.  Not the news I'd hoped for.

I had a few minutes of crying last night, but then I remembered... the women in my family have courage in the face of danger and despair.  So I'm grabbing hold of every grain of courage I possess.  I may still have moments of tears, but I can survive this too.  I have survived so many obstacles in my life.  This will not beat me.  I am a survivor.  My word of the day is Courage.  Courage!

   
Make that "I Can Do It!"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hot August Days

We have been having a heat wave, typical for August.  It was like stepping into a sauna yesterday.  I went out to get my mail earlier, and it was gearing up for more of the same. 

Do you live at a slower pace in the hot summer days?  I do.  The days seem to stretch out so much longer in the heat.  I bumped my AC down a notch and enjoyed walking around my house with icy, cold toes for a while.  I'm listening to music while I type... Etta James is singing "A Sunday Kind of Love"... so nice!  My Snapple Peach iced tea drink just hits the spot right now.  I have an urge to pull out a favorite book, curl up on the sofa, and read for hours. 

Enjoy the lazy days of summer, soon they'll be just a pleasant memory.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

This is an old post...

I was just thinking of my little brother, Tom, and missing him today.  I posted this on his birthday in 2008.  It seems unreal to me that he's been gone 11 years now.  I hope you enjoy "meeting" him...

http://littlegreygardens.blogspot.com/2008/07/happy-birthday-tommy.html

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summertime is flying by...

This has been the craziest summer!  One unplanned thing after another.  Since my last post, we had another pricey disaster...

This is one branch from our willow!

Makes our home look tiny by comparison.
A huge branch from our Willow tree fell!  Thankfully, it dropped directly across the back lawn, right between our fence and our patio cover.  It did hit our little Maple, which has survived, but it broke off most of the branches on one side.  It looks a little sad.  Anyway, you would not believe how expensive it is to have a tree removed, and we even had them leave the stump.  On the bright side, our yard looks much bigger, and we have a place to create a rock garden!

Paul, getting ready for his flying lesson!
Doesn't my husband look happy?  If I had know how tiny the helicopter was going to be, I don't think I could have bought him the lesson.  I'm not a fan of flying, and this would have pushed my fear of heights and flying too far.  Plus it had no door!  I would have taken one look and walked away.  He said whenever he shifted his weight he could feel the chopper shift!  He wouldn't try "driving" it again... too complicated and touchy, but he loved being up there. 

I'm making progress on my summer projects, and must get back to work.  I'll try and check in again soon.  Until then, I hope you're all having a wonderful summer!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer fun...

Just stopping in for a quick note.  Summertime gets so busy, so my blogging often gets put aside.  I mentioned before, that we canceled our anniversary trip because of having to buy a new AC unit.  Since then, we also had to replace our 16 year old dishwasher and replace our front windshield! Lol! We were definitely not meant to take that trip!

I'm buying my sweetheart an engine for his 52 Chevy.  It's "near new" and will be available to put in his car in September!  A friend decided his new engine wasn't racy enough and is putting an even more powerful one in.  He's selling his to us!  I also got a huge discount on a helicopter lesson for Paul.  He has always wanted to fly in one, so next week he gets a 30 minute lesson, then a 30 minute flight where he will be allowed to take the controls for a bit.  He is so excited!

We have been having fun doing some long neglected home repairs, watching episodes of some of our favorite TV shows (love that streaming video), etc.  Paul barbequed some beautiful T-Bone steaks for our anniversary dinner.  Delicious! 

Earlier this year, I purchased a wooden Chinese Checkers Board, painted and distressed. It hangs above my fireplace in an arrangement.  I suddenly remembered my wooden Aggravation Board from my childhood.  I got it out, and Paul painted it a flat black.  It looks so nice.  I plan to add some color to it later on and attach a hanger to it.  I'll post a photo when it's done.

Well, gotta get back to all those home improvement projects!  Have a wonderful July afternoon!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

30 Wonderful Years...

One of my favorite photos of us...
My sweet husband and I are celebrating our 30th Wedding Anniversary today!  It's amazing to reflect on who we were in the beginning, and who we have become over the years.  We've had extreme joys, some devastating hardships, and a lot of "every day normal" in between.  Somehow we've come through it all, intact and still in love.

I'm not naive enough to think we have any special "magic" that kept us together.  It's a mix of love, forgiveness, faith, commitment, and so many other things that just worked for us.  And for all of that, I feel grateful, and so blessed!  My hope is that we'll still be together, "till death do us part" and if possible, even beyond that.

Honey... thank you for the love, the laughter, for our boys, for your compassion, your strength, and your commitment.  Thank you for seeing me... the real me, that nobody else knows.  Thank you for continuing to look at me like I'm still that young woman you fell in love with.  Thank you for trusting me with your heart, like I trust you with mine. 

To my friends, I wish you love... Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Got Lemons?

Do you ever feel that you've just let life throw you off-track?  Well, I have.  All my grand intentions to do more writing, to get organized, even to go on vacation... everything got side-tracked due to more health issues (I refuse to bore you with details today), family concerns, budget derailments...

I've missed several Sunday Scribblings, and I haven't even gotten back to my other writing.  Just too many things going on.  Our air conditioning went out during the hottest two days we'd had this summer.  Multiple Sclerosis and heat are not a good mix.  Thankfully, the same company that installed our furnace a few years back, agreed to come out the day it happened.  They had a brand new unit installed in two days time.  Right now my feet are too cold, so I had to put on socks!

The only downside of the new AC, is that we've had to cancel our trip to the coast.  My husband and I have been to the Oregon Coast twice... once on our honeymoon and once on our 25th Anniversary.  This year will be our 30th, and we really wanted to go again.  We will, it just will be later than planned.  Instead, we have decided to do a few home improvements, be tourists in our own valley, and just have fun here at home!  It's called making lemonade, and enjoying it! So, make time to relax, kick your feet up, pour yourself a tall glass, enjoy the sun, and be thankful for the little things...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Write...

"I'm caught in a dream.  
Reality doesn't seem real anymore, 
and I'm lost inside my own mind."

Have you ever felt that way?  What do you do when life seems overwhelming?  Where do you go?

I've always turned to my faith, my family, & my friends.  I have also used writing as an outlet.  I think it's time for me to get back into my writing.  It's always been an escape for me.  A release.

"When life gets hard... write!"  I pulled out a book I started years ago and began to reread it.  Now it's talking to me.  It's time to revisit that idea, that place.   Time to get serious about my dreams...

I just have to add this quote a friend posted on her wall: 

"Read, read, read.  Read everything... trash, classics, good, and bad, and see how they do it.  Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master.  Read!  You'll absorb it.  Then write.  If it is good, you'll find out.  If it's not, throw it out the window."  ~ William Faulkner

Maybe I've always been afraid to find out that it's just not good enough.  I'm over it!  Time to get to work and find out!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Scribblings #268 - Better Late Than Never

My head is dancing in circles
It's spinning with dreams, thoughts
What could have been
What should have been
Where did days go
How many remain
Will I ever get where I am going
Where my dreams wanted to take me
Is there still time
I hope there's time

© 5Jun2011 ajj



Today's prompt is below.  I'm trying to get caught up.  Ironically, that fits with this prompt!

Sunday Scribblings #270 - Sweet

This is my response to the new Sunday Scribblings prompt.  It's not my usual poem or piece of fiction.  Just some shared thoughts, on where I am in my life, on this particular day...   


Church has always played a role in my life, whether I was attending or not.  My mother told me I was baptized as an infant, but I neglected to ask where or what denomination.  It was most likely in Kellogg, Idaho.  It didn't really matter to me, because for as long as I can remember, I spoke to God and felt like He heard me.  What I felt for my Creator was sweet, pure, and deep within me.


Mom worked nights and many Sunday mornings, but she often let me walk to a little pink church down the road.  I loved Sunday School, until they started putting black marks by my name for the Sundays I missed.  My final break with the pink church was when my Sunday School Teacher, and
I use the word teacher lightly here (though I did learn a lesson from her), told me that unless my mom started coming with me, she was going to burn in the fires of Hell!  Then she passed around the bag for our offering.  I slipped my clenched hand into my pocket, hanging on tightly to my dime.  I never went back to that church.  I did continue to pray to God each night though.

I'm saying all of this because I'm in an identity crisis with my faith.  I've always known who I was, what I believed, and who God was to me.  I had my home church, and it remained home to me even when I lived in another state.  But everything has changed.

It's not so much that my church changed, though it has.  It's more that I have changed.  My faith has been challenged... well, actually rocked!  I feel like I've been treading water, and I've never been a good swimmer so there is the constant fear of drowning.  Of losing myself.  So once again, I am home on a Sunday morning, and it feels strange to me.  I haven't stopped praying.  I still believe.  I'm just standing at the metaphorical fork in the road.  Neither path looks appealing.  Neither calls out to me.  So I'm sitting on this grassy knoll, enjoying the sun, until I'm ready to move on. 

© 5Jun2011 ajj

Friday, May 27, 2011

Endings...

We attended my youngest son's final High School Orchestra Concert last night.  It was awesome!  Lucky 13 plays the cello.  He got to riff a bit, on his electric cello, during their last song.  Like me, he gets a bit of stage fright... the shaking hands.  I played piano, and that kept me from going as far with it as I might have.  Singing never scared me as much as playing.  He really pushed through it, and he ended up having a great final performance.

His Senior year was taken from him by illness, so instead of graduating last year, he is completing his final classes this summer.  He has just two to go, and they will be done at an online High School.  The wonderful thing is, all of the delays won't matter a few years from now.  As I've told him, it only matters what you're doing today!  Don't hang on to regrets of the past.  High School will only be a small blip on the map of your life. 

I am so proud of him.  He played so well last night and with such  confidence!  Another "era" ends, and it's on to new beginnings...


You gain strength, courage and confidence
by every experience in which you stop
to look fear in the face.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Farewell to Oprah...

I haven't tuned in every day, but I have to admit that Oprah has had an impact on my life over the past 25 years.  My oldest son said she's been on the air all his life... he turns 25 this year.

Oprah turned a light on and exposed a lot of inhumanity in our world.  She gave a voice to people who had lost their voice to violence, fear, sickness, prejudice...  She provided a platform for music and literature and laughter.  Oprah added a wonderful diversity to the mundane programming that had been on in the afternoons.  It had the feel of those old-time variety shows that I loved as a kid.

She introduced me to many writers, including one of my favorites, Maya Angelou.  When I was too ill to do much of anything, I looked forward to what new surprises Oprah would bring. 

Whether you loved her, hated her, or were indifferent, there is no denying she will forever remain an iconic figure to a generation.  Oprah, I will miss you.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

If Life Has Hurt You...

Pause the Playlist before starting the video...


This speaks to those moments when you feel there's been too much pain, too many disappointments, those you counted on let you down, you've faced unbearable loss, your world came crashing down...  Whatever the sorrow... maybe something good will come from it... maybe He still loves and cares... if you can keep on trusting... if you just Believe. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Departures and Arrivals

The circle of life goes on and on...  Today, as one family gathers to say their final goodbyes to a precious daughter, another family gathers to welcome a new life into this world.
Beautiful Elizabeth...
Make-A-Wish moment... Elizabeth & Matt Shadow from Avenged Sevenfold, her favorite band

This past weekend, Elizabeth Sandra, Lizzy, left this life for the next.  My heart goes out to her family and friends, with special prayers for her parents, grandparents, and her brothers and sisters. Today will be a hard day for them.  They surrounded Elizabeth with their love for 17 years.  I pray that even in their pain, they will also feel God's love and peace.  I also want to thank those of you who have prayed for her, and are still praying for her family.

Last night, my cousin's daughter had her fourth child, a tiny little girl.  Iris Jane, after two of her great grandmothers.  She is my aunt and uncle's 6th great grandchild.  They say she is both great and grand!

In between the goodbyes and the hellos, a lot of living goes on.  This day is a reminder for me, to enjoy each precious minute we have with those we love.  To celebrate their lives every single day.  And to let those you love, know that you do love them.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

We Got Ten!

Awesome Sunday!  We needed it after our sad news yesterday.  It started out with my son bending down to pick up the paper and coming face to face with a large black dog.  It was lying so still in our flower bed. As I looked, I saw mud and rumpled fur on it's right hip.  Looked as if it had been hit by a car.  Max brought out a bowl of water and she drank just a little, but did not try to move.  I finally got brave enough to pet her (or him) and get the phone number off the license.  We then had to wait for animal control.  The lady who came was so gentle.  We were able to get the dog to it's feet, three of them anyway.  And with some assistance, got her into the van.  She'll be seen by a vet, while they try to contact the owner.


About half an hour later, my husband comes hurrying in and says, "They're on the move... the ducklings!"  We frantically searched for the camera, and headed outside.  We live in a high traffic area, with lots of dogs around, so we decided to "escort" our little duck family to the canal.  Ten of the thirteen eggs hatched!  More than we expected!  It was a long journey, because she headed one direction for about a block, but realized there was no way through.  Then it was back around and out of the subdivision onto the main road.  Passing cars were slowing to take a quick look.  A couple dogs coming to lean over the short fence.  She was fine with her entourage trailing (now 5 people... husband, both sons, neighbor, and myself), as long as we didn't get too close.  Thank goodness for the zoom lens!  I hope you enjoy the photos...
My favorite photo... all huddled together...

On the move...

"Stick Together Kids..."

The  long walk...

Nature in the city...

"Mom, are we there yet?"

"I'm hungry, I'm tired..."

 "We're almost there..."

Making their way down the steep embankment...

Finally, safe at their destination!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sad News...

My stepbrothers daughter, Elizabeth, lost her battle with Ovarian Cancer this weekend.  She was only 17.  She was Elizabeth, Beth, and recently Lizzy, but her daddy called her Boo. I can only imagine Joe's heartbreak, but I know it's massive.  One small, bright spot is Make-A-Wish came through for her this week.  Matt Shadow, from the band Avenged Sevenfold, traveled with his wife to see her.  With some adjustments of her meds, she was able to be awake and enjoy having one of her dreams come true.  It was a special time for her and her family.  The love and compassion Matt and his wife showed even made Elizabeth's grandma a fan.  Make-A-Wish Foundation is amazing and so appreciated.

Losing my mom to Ovarian Cancer was hard, but losing a child... there are no words.  I'm weary of cancer.  I'm especially weary of hearing about children being taken by this insidious disease.  It's time for it to stop... time for a cure... before another child is taken far too soon. 

Please whisper a prayer for the family... they will miss her so... even knowing she is now safe and loved, in the arms of our Heavenly Father...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day... Remembering each of them...

My momma and me...
Momma always took in any stray and found them a home!
PJ and his mom... my mom-in-law
My boys and their Grandma VJ
My grandma and me...

And in later years...
My other grandma and her sister...
No longer here... but never forgotten...

Wishing each of you a beautiful Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Just a quick "hello" and update...

Momma duck still patiently sitting and waiting...

My ancestry search keeps hitting walls, but is "O So Fun" to do!  I found Passenger Lists showing some of PJ's family coming to America, plus a couple photos of the actual ships they traveled on!  I also found newspaper articles from the early 1900's... one about his great grandmother's passing, one about his grandfather and a horse named Flossie, and a few more.  So, the search continues...

It's a beautiful, crisp spring morning.  Some of my tulips are done, but others have just opened up.  The daffodils looked pretty this morning too...

Still "waging the war" against my health demons.  I feel like I'm winning some of the battles.  My MS seems to have stabilized for now, and I am so thankful for that!  I have chosen not to be on any medication, as the side effects seem to outweigh the benefits.  I shared in an earlier post about my "shrinking" and am dealing with decisions about medication for that. My advice... take care of your bones now!  Overall, I am doing well...

My writing has taken a back seat... so far back... it's in the caboose of a long, long train!  I will get back to work soon.  Ideas have been swirling around in my head, I just need to get them down on "paper" while they're fresh...

I hope there is peace and sunshine wherever you are today...

Blessings!
Nita Jo

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Expecting....

In 2008, we were expecting 13 ducklings.  Our duck couple had returned, and there were 13 eggs.  Sadly, something (racoon or snake) got to the eggs.  There were no ducklings for us that year, and the pair never returned to nest in our front garden again.

Monday afternoon, while mowing the back lawn, my husband startled a duck.  She had a nest hidden behind our three Gooseberry bushes (Duck - Gooseberry...Lol)!  Amazingly, she has 13 eggs!  I'm hoping that at least some of the eggs survive to become ducklings!  I'll get photos of them if I can.  Here are two photos my husband took on Monday:


Thirteen Eggs, left briefly uncovered when "Mama" duck was startled by the lawn mower.


"Mama" happily back on her nest!


Well, back to my ancestry search... then on to one of my guilty pleasures... American Idol! 
I hope to be back blogging on a regular basis before too long!  Until then...

Blessings!
Nita Jo

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wishing You a Happy and Blessed Easter!

This song has such memories from my childhood.  
I was touched by Carrie Underwood's version.
Be sure to pause my Playlist before playing this video!  
It's amazing!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I'm still here!

Hello friends!  I have neglected my blog terribly the past couple of months, and I'm even farther behind in reading my favorite blogs.  I haven't forgotten any of you, I've just been so busy.  Besides the ancestry search that has been consuming a lot of my time, there's been little of everything going on... husband & son had the flu, been sorting and scanning family photos, going through old family cassette and video tapes just to see what's on them, catching up on my reading, and more.

Most recently, my oldest son is moving back in with us for a time.  He wants to save some money in anticipation of some things he'd like to do in his life.  It will also be a help for us, because he'll be paying us room and board.  Another plus... I love having him around!  He is loving, funny, and just a joy in our lives.  Plus, he's really tall!  He can reach the things I can no longer reach, although my husband & younger son also help with that. But, he'll be around when they aren't because of his work schedule. 

I'm supposed to stay off of step-stools and ladders because of my osteoporosis... They measured me at my doctor appointment this week, and I've lost another 1/2 inch since last November.  I was 5' 8-1/2" when I got married 30 years ago... now I'm 5' 6-1/2"... a full 2 inches shorter!  Not great.  The good news is that I'd lost 21 pounds!  Yippee!  Still a long way to go, but it's a good start.

I've been reconnecting with some friends.  That's been fun.  I'm one of those people who is so happy at home in my little world, that I don't get out much.  My friend (she's also my cousin-in-law), Carol, was down doing the college visits with her daughter.  She saved an entire morning to spend with me!  We went out to breakfast, then came back to my home to chat.  There is nothing like time with a dear friend to put life back into perspective.  Her visit brought such a feeling of joy to my heart.

My husband and I made it to church last weekend, and got invited to go out to lunch.  My first impulse was to just go home, but I pushed myself to go and we had the best time!  Old friends bring that comfortable feeling of just being able to be ourselves.  We shared about our boys... they have three, we have two... we talked about the wonderful church service... about what's new in our lives... and we laughed.  It was wonderful!

Well, that's my update.  I'll try to get back here more often.  Next time, I'll come to visit some of your blogs!

Blessings to each of you!
Nita Jo

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Scribblings #260 - Nearly

Maddie was dressed and ready to go.  She'd gotten up early, showered, selected her best clothes, eaten a light breakfast, and read the paper.  Now, with purse in hand she stood looking at the door.  Dizzy, she was so dizzy. "I'll just sit for a bit." she thought.  And so, she sat.  The minutes ticked into hours.  At some point, she hung her jacket back in the closet and placed her handbag over the doorknob.  She'd almost made it.  She was very nearly there, but not quite.  Maybe next time.  Yes, next time she would go.

© 27Mar2011 ajj


To read other Sunday Scribblings writers go HERE.
For more of my writing, go to My Sunday Scribblings.
And, thank you so much for stopping by...

Sunday Scribblings #259 - Free

Free.  "You're free." he said, smiling as he slipped the stack of papers into the large manilla envelope.  She couldn't process the word.  How do you become free of 28 years of life, of memories.  Who asked to be free anyway?  She certainly hadn't.  Rachael took the envelope.  She didn't even attempt to return his smile.  "Thank you for your help." she stated quietly.  She didn't mean it.  What is the point of thanking someone for the assist in turning your life upside-down?  And, for a pretty high cost at that!  She grabbed her coat and left his office.  Three flights down, out the double doors, and into the cold, clear day.

Looking around, Rachael noticed that everything looked exactly the same.  The world continued on indifferently.  As if her problems didn't change anything.  Well, they really didn't, except to her.  Jeff & Jayna had been nonchalant about everything.  "Mom, life goes on.  What's important is that you both find happiness."  Who were these people?  That is certainly not how she raised them.  Marriage was forever.  Momma & pops certainly never considered such a thing.  She walked slowly down the street.  Traffic was mad, as usual, horns barking out a retort for their discontented drivers.  A young mother passed her, trying to keep three little ones within reach.  An old man sat on the bench waiting for the next bus.  Everything was the same.  Everything was different.  She was free.

© 27Mar2011 ajj


For more Sunday Scribblings go HERE.  For more of my writing pieces for this venue, go to My Sunday Scribblings.  As always, thanks for stopping by...

Sunday Scribblings #258 - Big

"Momma, wait" she cried, running to keep up.  There were funny people all around, scary, leering with their white faces and crazy grins.  Momma put her hand behind her, grasping the tiny fingers, and glancing over her shoulder, with a smile for her little one.  "This is fun" she laughed, "Just look at all the pretty colors."  Eyes wide, the little girl looked around at the big world full of big things. It all looked frightening to her.  From the clowns, to the tent, to the wagons holding the tigers and bears, it was all too much to take in.  Little did she know that one day, because her Momma had spent this day with her, just the thought of a circus would make her tremble with happiness, clear down to her toes.


© 27March2011 ajj

Sunday Scribblings #257 - Raw

Emotions bubble to the surface,
Too long subdued.
They are raw, uncensored,
Ugly to see, worse to hear.
How does the heart begin to heal?
Where is a salve to ease the pain,
To cleanse the gaping wound?
Will it remain forever tattooed,
An effigy to your betrayal?

© 27MAR2011 ajj

Sunday Scribblings #256 - Fire

It was that kind of day.  You know, when everything seems rather mundane.  You're going along doing your normal daily routines.  There's a happy kind of feeling inside, and then you get hit with it!  Words come at you faster than you can process them.  It's not that "they" are talking fast, it's like that thing that happens during a car wreck, where everything seems to be in slow motion.  Then it all speeds up, and you have hit the wall faster than you'd ever have imagined.  And you sit there, bleeding from the head, pain oozing out of every pore.  What just happened, you ask.  What, what, what was that?  I just didn't see it coming.  I was watching, but it came out of nowhere.  I'm sorry, so sorry, I don't know why I'm crying.  I just should have known,  I should have seen it coming.  I should have been more careful.  I looked away, just for an instant, and my dreams caught fire... and they're gone.  Up in smoke... and there's no going back.  I can never get it all back.


© 27Mar2011 ajj

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What's New...

First, I want to point out the photo link... over on the sidebar... for the "My Salvaged Treasures" blog!  Betsy is celebrating 200 followers with a fun giveaway.  All you have to do to enter, is leave a comment.  Go click now, because it ends soon!  Then come right back...

So, I've been absent a lot lately... family stuff... you know, life with it's good and bad.  Mostly good, I have to say, although we still need lots of prayer for Elizabeth (step-brother's 17 old daughter... is step-niece a word).  She was going through another round of Chemo for the Ovarian cancer, and she took a turn for the worse.  Everything is stable now, but this is a rough road for anyone, much less such a young lady.  So please keep her in your prayers!

The fun... I've joined Ancestry.com and have intensified my search for my family history.  It's time-consuming, frustrating, and fascinating!  You have to be so careful to document every relation with Census Records, or some other proof.  Draft cards, marriage and death certificates, etc.  I'm hoping to find out more about many family members, including my Grandma Ruth... my mom's mom... this is her...

I discovered another great-granddaughter on my maternal grandfathers side!  We are now exchanging photos and information.  She sent me her telephone number and I called.  We talked and laughed for about an hour.  There was that instant family connection.  She knew stories that my grandpa, and my mom, had told me.  Plus, she knew a couple I hadn't heard, and I was able to share a couple with her!  Her mom is still living, and can provide a lot of history!  It is Fun!

Well, now you know why I may be absent for the next month or so.  I'll check in, but am not promising anything.  I'll probably be sitting right here... just making my eyes go bleary, starring at old documents and photos! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sunday Scribblings #254 - A Thousand Years

reality shows, news about wars
images on film or digital,
the latest fashion, the trend,
the thing that's "it" for today
wallpaper, paint, linen, leather or vinyl
who's who, who's hot, who's not
property; buy it, sell it, rent or
find a niche under the bridge

save words in a book or a memory chip
create art in paint, charcoal, ink, pastels
what will it matter in a thousand years
will anyone be here to care
will it all be blown to oblivion
will all the good be in heaven
what about me... where will i be
will any of this really even matter

So.... that's my take on the prompt for Sunday Scribblings #254 "A Thousand Years"
I wrote it a while back.  It's a bit dark, but sometimes we all stand in the dark... and wonder.


copyright 13Feb2011 ajj

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Roba Dolce Review

You may remember that I posted about a free sample of Roba Dolce products back in January.  Well, my family finally sampled the products and here is my review in order of preference:

  • Lemon Sorbetto... this is my personal favorite!  I love lemon, and this is the perfect blend of tart with just a touch of sweet.  I couldn't stop eating this.  The rest of the family just got a "token" taste.
  • Dark Chocolate Chunk Gelato... this was the overall favorite of everyone!  Creamy, dark, decadent, delightful... with chunky chocolate pieces!  My guys polished this off!  I was lucky to get a tiny sample bite of this luscious gelato!
  • Mango Sorbetto... First taste, I wasn't sure.  I was still in my happy, lemon place.  I have to say, I really liked this flavor.  The mango was rich, without being too sweet.  A perfect dessert treat, especially after a spicy meal.
  • Pistachio Gelato... This took me back to the 70's when everyone was making "Pistachio Pudding" for pot luck dinners.  It was sweet and creamy, with little bits of crunchy nuts in every bite.  Delicious!
  •  Coconut Gelato... If you like coconut creme pie, you will love this!  It's the sweetest coconut flavor, so creamy, with bits of shredded coconut blended in.  Even my sons, who have never cared much for coconut, loved this!  It was wonderful served alongside a warm, dark chocolate brownie!   
Thank you to Roba Dolce for the opportunity to sample, and review, their excellent products!  If you want to find a store selling Roba Dolce products, visit their web site.  In my area, Roba Dolce is sold at Costco and Walgreens.  Roba Dolce also has a FaceBook Page Here.

Another big "Thank You" goes out to Karen, of This Old House 2 , for letting me know about this wonderful opportunity.  She has a lovely blog... please take a few minutes out of your day to visit her! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad...

I was about a year old when this was taken.

Grandpa & Grandma (who raised me) and my Daddy
I still miss my dad.  Today is his birthday.  My dad didn't play a big role in my life, but you couldn't help loving him.  He was funny, interesting, and well... I was always told I was stubborn, just like him.  It's true... I am! 

I loved to hear him sing... he sounded a little like Merle Haggard, and he had a great laugh.  He's been gone for almost 21 years... seems like only a moment ago.  Gone, never forgotten.  Sending love heavenward...


Monday, February 21, 2011

Chopped...

Well, I'd been thinking about donating my hair again and last night I chopped it off!  Twelve inches gone!  It feels so light and airy!  I haven't worn my hair this short in a long time. 

We took this first photo a few nights ago for our church's directory.  That's my hubby PJ,  me, and my youngest son, Lucky 13!  Aren't they cute!  You can't really see that my hair goes way down my back. 


 Twelve inches chopped off!

And the first result in a pic my son took.  A little blurry, but it gives you an idea...
I did the cutting after 11 pm last night.  Lol!  A bit jagged, but I did it!  Today, I had PJ straighten out the edges in the back for me.  It turned out pretty well for a non professional home hair cut.  Sorry about the surgery scar... haven't figured how to edit it out.  I'm hoping it will fade some day.

It's been a productive couple days for me.  Got some projects done, boxed up more goodies for the ARC to pick up, and gave myself a new do!  Feels grand!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Valentine's Day... and Other Stuff

My sweet husband really made my Valentine's Day lovely.  I woke up to find a beautiful card and a gorgeous pink azalea plant waiting for me!  He had already given me Lindt Chocolates, and had baked me my favorite Gooseberry Pie!

 This pie was delicious! 

When he got home from work, he surprised me with three wonderful soaps I had on my wish list; Lavender and Ocean Rain made with Shea butter, and Cloister Garden, a floral fruity fragrance, made with goat's milk... they smell heavenly!  Plus, a beautiful Celtic Trinity Bracelet!  He is quite a guy, and I'm so glad he still puts up with me!  

Other stuff...

Tuesday we had the most beautiful spring weather!  It got up to 64 degrees, a record for February!  Then yesterday came...  Big hail, winds, lightening, then snow...  Needless to say, it was black ice this morning.  I drove Lucky 13 to school... as always, the High School parking lot is one of the most dangerous places to drive, and the only place I slid!  I was glad to get back to my nice, warm home!  Here is a look at what was coming down...


This is supposed to last for the next couple of days... Oh, how I'm looking forward to spring!

Reminder:  The due date for the Brenda Photo Challenge is coming up!  It's February 26th!  The category is "Red" and should be lots of fun.  It's not too late to sign up.  Just go Here!  My photos will be posted over at Nita Jo's Photos, my photo blog.

Wishing you a beautiful day... and stay hopeful, Spring is just around the corner!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sunday Scribblings #253 - Story

Here is a  short piece of fiction for this weeks Sunday Scribblings.  The prompt is Story.


It was like any other afternoon.  The kids were at school, Tom was at work, and I was sitting at home wondering what to do next.  I have a to-do list about a mile long, but just didn't have the motivation to tackle any of the jobs.  I looked out the window.  What a beautiful spring day!  The sun was shining, and there was a slight breeze.

I stood there, undecided for about 30 seconds.  Then, grabbing a light sweater and my keys, I went out the door.  Walking briskly, I headed for the park about six blocks from my home.  It was pretty empty this time of the day.  There were a few young women with their toddlers or their dogs, and one or two senior citizens walking slowly along.  I made my way to my favorite bench, overlooking the water.  It was relaxing sitting there in the quiet, watching the ducks and geese.

A soft voice over my shoulder asked, "Do you mind if I sit for a bit?"  "No, there's plenty of room here." I replied glancing back.  The elderly man smiled as he came around and sat down.  We both silently looked out over the water.

After a few moments, he spoke.  "My wife and I used to walk down to this park every Sunday afternoon to watch the birds."  "That must have been nice." I replied.  "It was nice, now that I think about it.  When we were coming, it was just part of our routine."  I smiled, and he knew he had a friendly listener.

"Funny how you appreciate things so much more when they're gone." he paused, "My wife passed away a year ago in February, just before Valentine's Day.  We were together for 52 years."  His voice was quiet, unemotional.  "I hadn't even bought her a card yet.  I have a bad habit of doing those kind of things at the last minute."  He reached up, scratching at his slightly whiskered chin.  His eyes were lost in thought, so I turned my attention back to the ducks.  I wondered what their story was.  Were they very much in love, or was her passing a relief to him?  Did they have children?  What had their lives been like?

I glanced back over and noticed his eyes had misted up.  "I'm sure you really miss your wife."  I offered, wondering if he still wanted to talk.  "Oh, I do.  So much.  It was always just her and me.  We were never able to have children, and most of our family lived far away from here.  It was just us."  he said, with a slight smile.  "But, we were enough for each other.  I guess that's why it's so hard now.  It gets a little lonely at times."  "Oh, I'm sure it does!" I replied.  He waited a moment, then added, "The one constant is my walks in this park.  It's one of the few places that hasn't changed all that much.  It's full of memories."  The man and I, John was his name, continued to chat for about an hour.  He then stiffly stood, reached out his hand and shook mine.  "This was a pleasure.  Thank you for listening to an old man's stories" and he headed off.

I sat for a little while longer, happy that I'd ignored the lists just this once. I felt refreshed by the spring air and the lovely memories shared with a stranger, who was now an acquaintance.  I hoped our paths would cross again some afternoon.


© 07February11 ajj

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bird Songs...

Even with the freezing cold temperatures, my heart is light because I am hearing bird songs from outside my window.  I went to visit Joanne Heim's blog, and there was a post on birds, songs, and boundaries.  It was uplifting and joyful!

As you can see on my sidebar, there is a photo link and prayer request for Joanne.  She suffered a major stroke on January 11th.  Joanne, and each family member, is in need of our prayers.  Here is a link to her December 15th Post:


Three times a week, one of Joanne's previous posts is pulled out of the archives.  This one really blessed me today.  This is the scripture she shared... Psalm 16:

You have assigned me my portion and my cup;
You have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
Surely I have a delightful inheritance! 

I pray for the day that Joanne will be able to share her thoughts with us again.  In the meantime, visit her blog to read her archives, and updates, posted by Tobin, family, and friends.  Please continue to pray for her healing...
Believe in Miracles.