Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Simple Woman's Daybook - August 29, 2016

For Today
August 29, 2016

Looking Out My Window
This day is quickly winding down!  Been up since just before 7:00 am so I could get to my daughter's house in time to watch my granddaughter.

The closer I drove towards home this afternoon, the cloudier it was!  A stop at the store for a few things, and when I came out, it had rained and already stopped!

But, I got into more rain on the rest of the way home; had to sit in the car for about 25 minutes 'til the rain slowed enough for me to get out.

It has cooled down quite a bit since the rain, and I am loving it!

I am Thinking
About the weekend trip coming up with my daughter...

Praying everything goes well and no drama!

I am Thankful
For the wonderful minister we have had as an interim while reviewing profiles for a new full-time minister!

His sermon on Sunday gave me the assurance that we - the Pastor Search Committee - have made a good decision about the candidate we will be bringing before the congregation...

Excited for everyone to meet this awesome young woman!

One of My Favorite Things
Spending time with my grandchildren...and my "children", too, of course.

Today I began a weekly "job" of babysitting for my youngest granddaughter, 2 years old, one day a week.  I had a great time watching a few kids' shows, reading books, eating lunch, and taking and sending photos to Mommy and Aunt Cathy!

She went down for a nap just before Mommy came home; and I enjoyed a bit of "grown-up" talk with my daughter.

Sending Kisses to Mommy and Aunt Cathy

Being Shy

I am Wearing
A pair of jeans capris and a white top with pink flowers and a bit of blue and green...

And my new slippers!

I am Crafting
Working on coloring a few Prima dolls that I stamped Saturday so I can "dress" them...

Photos after they are done!

I am Reading
"Summer" by Karen Kingsbury; the 2nd book in the "Sunrise" series.

I am Learning
That I am the one that must "control" the situation(s) that occur around here...

If I react negatively, he will also!  If I try to react in a calm way, he will react to that more easily...

And there usually won't be an outburst!

In My Kitchen
The fact that I have a very stuffed tummy means I am DONE in the kitchen!

Dinner cooked; dishes in the dishwasher...

Now I can relax!

Shared Quote
This prayer was posted on Facebook on my birthday by a blogging friend:

A Moment From My Day
Singing "The Wheels on the Bus" and "Five Little Monkeys" with my granddaughter!  And watching as she repeats what she hears on the show, "Super Why"...

Such a little smart one!

Closing Notes
So, with a bit of back-tracking because of an error and having to start over...

I am finally ready to finish my post!

Check back again next week for another one...

Have a blessed week!

Monday, August 29, 2016

"The Power of Words" - Prompt 19/21

For this prompt, I decided to randomly choose 10 - 20 words from the dictionary, and write a short story ... or maybe the beginnings of a longer one, like my "Random Story Line" that keeps on going!

{I randomly chose a total of 15 words from the "Webster's Student Dictionary - Newly Revised Edition (1999)"; they are listed below along with definitions where needed ...}

1.  Book
2.  Embankment
3.  Cloisonne - (n.) type of enamel decoration, where the section of enamel are separated by little ridges of metal.
4.  Fish
5.  Half-mast - flags flying halfway up the flag pole as a sign of mourning.
6.  Powder - very fine dry grains (like flour).
7.  Recover - to get back that which has been stolen; to get well again after an illness; to get over (a shock); or to put a new cover (on a chair).
8.  Scorpion - a poisonous tropical insect which stings with a long curved tail.
9.  Sterile - not capable of bearing fruit or children; so clean that no germs/bacteria can grow.
10.  Suburbs - residential area on the outskirts of a city or town.
11.  Sultry - hot/heavy (weather); attractive in a dark way; passionate.
12.  Eclectic - taking ideas, etc. from several different sources.
13.  Grave - (n.) tomb/hole in the ground to put a dead body in; burial place; (adj.) serious/solemn.
14.  Grenadine - red drink made from pomegranate juice.
15.  Re-think - (n.) second thought about a problem; (v.) to think again; to reconsider.

And, now for the story!

The book fell from her hands and down to the bottom of the short embankment.  On this beautiful, yet sultry afternoon, she couldn't wait to be outside.  Now, it was hard to recover from the news she had received: "The outlook is serious ... grave.  We may need to re-think our plans."

Down the street, she noticed all of the flags flying at half-mast.  "Was this how her life would continue," she thought to herself.  Another day, another life - or lives - taken in this simple, usually-quiet suburb.

Another life placed into the open grave, dark and dank, waiting for the next victim.  Her heart would not let her dwell on it any longer ...

"How long," she pondered, "how long would this continue?"

Slowly, she stood on shaky legs and picked up the thermos filled with grenadine, the red pomegranate drink that always soothed her.

"Perhaps another sip would help?" she wondered aloud.  "Or maybe a few sprinkles of the powder she had hidden away ... No!  That would be too easy ... and too hard!"

Slowly she stretched, felt her abdomen.  Deep in thought, she continued down the embankment.

"Sterile?  No babies for me," she thought for the hundredth time.  "Why?  What had happened to cause this?  What will I do now?!"

Her thoughts kept wandering, trying to answer the questions she held deep inside ...

Was it the fish?  It did taste a bit funny.  No, that was just her way of avoiding the real problem ...

What about that scorpion they had spotted on the beach?  No, we never even came close ...

She would never know the answers; would never have the courage to return home and search for the lost cloisonne bracelet.

Her grandmother gave the bracelet to her years ago, just a small piece from her eclectic collection.

And, wrapped inside the box was the letter that would explain everything ...

If only she could find it!

The End ... or, is it only the beginning?!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Tuesday @ Ten - FEEL

Once again it is time to link up with Karen for Tuesday @ Ten.  Karen posts the word (or sometimes a phrase) prompt on Tuesdays, and we have a full week to write our post.  It's just another way to connect with others through our writing...

So, here goes:

This week's prompt is - Feel

Today, I feel so blessed!

Yesterday, I turned 65 years old; and I feel so overwhelmed; and so blessed!

Feel - a touch on your arm, and you know you've been touched.  You feel the touch the moment you have been touched!

But, to "feel" a touch to the heart?  Deep inside your soul?

How can you know you've been touched?  How can you feel a touch to your heart?

Perhaps a shiver down the spine?  Or, little "prickles" on your arms...

On American Idol, Jennifer Lopez describes those feels to the heart as "goosies"; prickles she gets when somebody sings their heart out and really touches her!

Perhaps a lump in your throat or a tear in your eyes signals a touch to the heart?

You know you've been touched; you feel it inside, and know the moment you've been touched!

Feel?  Just watch a precious little one, quiet in an unfamiliar place, break into smiles when she hears her favorite cousin's name!

Or, the overwhelming feeling of being special when an unexpected envelope full of "happy mail" is received...whether on a special day, or just because!

I received both this week!!

Happy Birthday Mail
received from Bonnie

Happy Mail
Received from Tamara

And, as I read through post after post after post of birthday wishes on my Facebook page ... over 100 of them! ... I could feel the love and friendship of so many friends; some I have never even met!!

There's also those feelings we get when we see or hear someone who is in pain...

Physically, mentally, emotionally...the pain they feel is real;

And, sometimes we get a little glimpse of that pain...

Like the woman behind me at the grocery store.

I had to wait while the clerk checked the price on one of my items and I heard the cashier ask the woman, "Are you having a good day?"

When the woman answered, "No," I looked at her face full of sadness; and her hands were shaking so bad she couldn't even process her card.

She told the cashier, "I just put my husband in the hospital...cancer."

That touched my heart; that touched me to the core!  I could feel her pain deep inside...

What could I do about it?  I could give her a hug; I could pray for her; I could pay for her purchases...

It wasn't much.  But it was what I had to give at the time when she was feeling so low.

Did it help her husband, lying in a hospital bed, battling the disease we all dread; even hate to hear the word...cancer?!

No, it may not have helped her husband; it really didn't help her?  But, for one brief moment in her life, during a time when she had so much on her shoulders, perhaps it gave her just a little bit of hope and assurance that she wasn't alone.

Feel?  We all feel differently about different things.  We all act and react in different ways.

But, we all feel!

And, we can all give something of ourselves to help others, even if just for a brief moment in time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WORD WEDNESDAY - The Beginning of Joy

The beginning of this year...

I chose JOY!

I chose the word, Joy - or the word chose me - for my word of the year!

My intent was to write a weekly post on the word, using "Word Wednesday" for the label.  I've written and published 25, missing a few here and there.

Lately, I haven't felt much joy; not really sadness, or depression, but certainly not happiness or even joy...

But, joy is my word for the year!  How can I not feel joy?

Occasionally I receive devotions from Crosswalk.com such as "Girlfriends in God", Daily Hope with Rick Warren", Proverbs 31, "Upwords" with Max Lucado, as well as others.

Sometimes one just seems to pop out at me and I save it for future reference!  One such devotion was called "The Beginning of Joy," by Max Lucado taken from the book "The Applause of Heaven."

Here it is - it's short so I'll just share the full content of the post:

"In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and I will give you rest.” You’ve been there. You’re turned your back on the noise and sought his voice. You’ve stepped away from the masses and followed the Master as he led you up the winding path to the summit. His summit. Clean air. Clear view. Crisp breeze. The roar of the marketplace is down there, and the perspective of the peak is up here. Gently he invited you to sit on the rock and look out with him at the ancient peaks that will never erode.

Just remember, he says, you’ll go nowhere tomorrow that I haven’t already been. Truth will still triumph. Death will still die. The victory is still yours. And delight is one decision away--seize it! Joy begins by breathing deep up there before you go crazy down here!

Yes!  Jesus invites us to come to Him; to rest with Him.  He invites us to get away from the hustle and bustle, the noise and the chaos...

To join Him where we can look upon what is happening "down here"; perhaps gain a different perspective on what is happening in our lives.

Once we can remove ourselves from all that prevents us from our joy - from the hustle and bustle, etc. - maybe we can begin to find the joy once again.

And, when we find the joy again, we can share it with others who may have lost their joy.

Joy is around us every day...

We may just have to look harder some days to find it; but it's there!

Joy is in the small things; and it's in the big things, too...but, remember:

May you find your joy today and every day!

"A Providential Moment" - Prompt 18/21

Today's prompt invites us to "write about a moment in our life when we experienced God's providential intervention or care in a powerful way".

And, Dawn adds to these words, "Sometimes I think GOOGLE is God's providential care for my blogging life."

That last sentence?  It reminded me of an incident, perhaps more than one, when God's care - providential or not - came via the Internet, specifically Facebook, and other bloggers!

I've been reflecting on this moment; but first, the "state of mind" I was in during this time...

{Since I've already journaled about this in my "regular" journal, I'll just quote my own words and the words of those who helped during this stretch.}

August 8, 2016, after being away for four days attending a scrapbooking retreat, I returned home on a Sunday evening - tired and ready to relax.  That evening was OK; but the next day was back to how things are...not really "normal", but for us, the way things normally are!  And, I wrote in my journal:

"...And, I'm home!  Back to the cat - who loves me, and is trying to make sure I stay HOME for awhile; and to the one who treats me like crap!

"Leave him?  Not possible!

I do think it's the dementia...or is it?!  I'm jut not sure; but I am so tired of being spoken to and treated this way in my own home!  I do know it's hard and when he gets that way - which is hard to predict - I am ready to leave...for awhile...forever!"

So, my mindset was one of discouragement, frustration, uncertainty...failure.

And, God knew I needed a lift; perhaps a few lists to help get me back on the right path.

The first was an Evening Blessing from Susie Larson (via Facebook):

"May God give you glimpses of the new beginnings He has for you.  May you stay in step with Him; and trust Him in the meantime.  May God give you joyful contentment in the place He has you now.  May you faithfully steward your current assignment, as you wait for God to move you.  May you see the treasure of trusting the timing of your dreams to god.  He is with you and He cannot, will not, fail you.  sing for joy today and trust Him fully with your tomorrows.  Sleep well tonight!"

These words were helpful, but I was still so tired from the weekend with late nights crafting, that I was becoming very discouraged trying to get my weekly blogs written and published...

And read these words from "The Happiness Dare" by Jennifer Dukes Lee, inviting us to join her for "the dare"...

"I believe the Holy Spirit is saying to each of us, 'Pay attention.  Savor the life God has given to you.  Thank God for the Good when life is beautiful.  And fight hard to find the happy when life is brutal.' (page 45, "The Happiness Dare")."

Yes, so much was put before me in those few days when I needed to read them...and, I'm not finished yet!  In fact, the really "weird" incident is yet to come...but, not yet!

First, some words from the Message Bible I found on an old bulletin or magazine:

"All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah!  Father of all mercy!  God of all healing counsel!  He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.  We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of His healing comfort - we get a full measure of that, too!  (2 Corinthians 1:4-5)"

WOW!!  Talk about words hitting home!  I wrote...

"He comes alongside us when we go through hard times..."

Yes, He does come alongside us; when we go through the good times and the bad times!  He helps us get through the hard times and maes our good times even better!  And, He prepares us to help someone else who is also going through hard times; perhaps even the same hard times we have encountered.

Hmmm!  This is all coming full circle now, once I share this "weird" incident, which also relates to the discouragement I felt in my writing as well as my caregiving...

After finding that last scripture, and journaling briefly, I also wrote out a short prayer to "end" the entry, and the day:

"Thank you, God, for being 'alongside' me no matter what!  I feel at times I've come to the end of my rope; it's hard just going from day to day sometimes...yet, You are there to strengthen me...every day!"

Here's what I wrote in my journal about the "weird" incident":

"This is so weird!  I struggled earlier to get my Simple Woman's Daybook finished; but the words were just not coming.  So, I just quit 'til later...or even tomorrow!

"That was a few hours ago.  I just checked e-mail and had a notification of a comment on my SWD post for August 8th...the one I was struggling with!  Somehow it was published!

"And, I do not recall hitting Publish!

"The comment has inspired me not to give up!

"So, thank you, Barbara - that is for real the person's name that wrote the comment - and thank you, God, for whatever happened to publish that "unfinished" post...and for Barbara and her words:"

"Just came across your blog from SWD.  I see by reading various links that you are trusting in God to help you through this touch season of life.  And He will continue to do so.  Your writing is what hurting people need so they don't feel isolated or...crazy.  Somebody's got to express this stuff and you are doing a good job of it..."

Boy!  Talk about hitting home!  Barbara's words hit the two points I was struggling with:

1) my journey with a husband who has dementia which is getting worse, and a hearing problem, and treats me like crap a lot of times; and,

2) my struggle with feeling discouraged trying to write and feeling nobody was reading or need to read my words!

Well, I guess she told me...

And, I guess God finally got to me!

One last scripture helped change my heart, and me resolve to do better:

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.  (Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT)"

And this scripture is the basis for my "change" for today and beyond...

Because I know it is I who needed to change!

And, with God's help, we can ride this journey together...peacefully, happily, joyfully!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Simple Woman's Daybook - August 22, 2016

For Today
August 22, 2016

Looking Out My Window
Today is a beautiful, sunny day; so far we haven't had our daily thunder storm...maybe we won't!

It was around 76 degrees at 10:30 this morning; and at noon was in the 80's.  I haven't been outside yet; guess I won't be going out at all today!

I am Thinking
Following up with the above - that I haven't left the apartment today - I am thinking that some days it's just so nice not to have somewhere to go; to be able to stay home and relax, or do chores on my own time, or even watch 3 or 4 episodes of a Food Network kids competition...

Yes, that's what I'm thinking today...about how nice that can be!

I am Thankful
For family and friends who help me see when I am not being the person that I should be; for pointing out my faults in a way that encourages me to do better!

One of My Favorite Things
A bowl of salty popcorn with shredded cheese sprinkled throughout, and eating it while watching a favorite show on TV...

Like "So You Think You Can Dance - Next Generation" that we will be watching tonight!  I love to see the kids performing; they are sooooo cute, and also sooooo good!!

I am Wearing
I have been waiting almost a week to be able to say this...actually, I've been waiting longer than that!!!

Today, I am wearing a pair of tan shorts and a rust shirt; and I am wear my new pair of comfy black slippers that are replacing my dirty, worn-out crocs!!

Yes!!!  I finally found the perfect pair of shoes/slippers to wear around the apartment...I just can't stand to go barefooted; I always seem to step on something that irritates my feet!

I am Crafting
I spent some time at our craft place for a "Beach-y" themed crop and completed my interpretation of the layout for the crop; pictures to come later:

"Beach Babes"
August 20, 2016

Close-up of Little Mermaid

Close-up of Mr. Crabby

I also added photos to a page I completed a few weekends ago at the Cancer Crop:

San Sebastian Winery
Birthday Wine-Tasting
August 2013

I also promised to show photos of the two swap projects I was working on; here is the Paint Chip ATC (Artist Trading Card) that I sent to my "partner" in Arkansas:

And, the Ice Cream tag swap project I sent to my "partner" in Michigan:

I am Reading
I have been reading (again) "When Your Loved One Has Dementia - A Simple Guide for Caregivers", a compilation work of several authors, and endorsed by Peter V. Rabins and Nancy L. Mace, co-authors of "The 36-Hour Day" which has also been a welcome resource for this journey with dementia!

Once I finish reading this book, I'll go back to the Karen Kingsbury series; but the next couple of weeks will be quite busy getting ready for a trip to Louisiana - the north part, not the area that has been under water.

I am Hoping
Once I get back from Louisiana, I am hoping to spend a lot of time in my craft room...

Working on getting some things put away, thrown away or given away; that will help me be able to get the room more organized so I can do some crafts at home...

My plan is to make a few more things for a craft show the first weekend in December, just in time for Christmas buying!!

I am Learning
Slow and easy, calm and quiet is the way to "win" at communicating with my husband!  And, I have learned so many other things in the book I've been reading.  The last time I picked it up, I was just scanning a few chapters or pages.

Maybe one day I will have learned what I need to know for this journey!

In My Kitchen
Chicken is thawing so I can make a casserole for dinner; not sure what else, either biscuits or cornbread...

I think I feel like eating some cornbread tonight!

Shared Quote
From the July/August 2013 issue of "Angels on Earth", this quote (or blessing) by an unknown author:

"May you always walk with the morning star to guide you, the summer sun on your back, and an angel by your side."

So, I leave this as a blessing to all!  For more information on this inspirational magazine, click here: angelsonearth.

A Moment From My Day
I know when doing Random Acts of Kindness, it's a personal, private thing; yet, I have to share this one and ask for prayers for this lady...

While checking out at the grocery store the other day, the clerk had to put my order on hold so they could check a price: I thought I had picked up a BOGO item but was charged for both.

The clerk proceeded to check out the next customer, asking her "Are you having a good day?" and the lady answered "No."  She looked sad and upset, and showed how her hands were shaking.  She said she had just taken her husband to the hospital and that he had cancer...

She had a problem getting her card to go through, and was looking for another one when I told the clerk to put her purchases on mine.  The lady started to protest, but relented...I proceeded to pay for the purchases; but before she left, I had to give her a big hug.  The clerk, the lady, and I all had tears in our eyes...

I just couldn't let that opportunity pass.  So many people have stepped up to help me out in so many ways when I needed it...

Please pray for that lady and her family; no, I didn't get a name...names are not necessary; God knows who she is.

Closing Notes
And, so ends another week; another Simple Woman's Daybook.

I pray your week is eventful, fun, and full!  
Join me again next week - hopefully.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

"Second Chances" - Prompt 17/21

Found on Pinterest
Shared by smile.amazon.com

In the movie, "Ground Hog Day", Bill Murray portrays Phil Connors, an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman.

During an assignment covering the Ground Hog Day event in Punxsutawney, PA, Phil finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again.

After numerous times of repeating the day, Phil begins to re-examine his life and priorities.

These words in Lamentations 3 may be helpful for Phil Connors - or anyone who finds themselves repeating the same day, or same situations over and over again.

Lamentations 3:17 - 21 (The Message Bible)

"I gave up on life altogether.  I've forgotten what the good life is like.  I said to myself, 'This is it.  I'm finished.  God is a lost cause.'  It's a Good thing to Hope for Help from God.  I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed.  I remember it all - oh, how well I remember - the feeling of hitting the bottom.  But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:  God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up.  They're created new every morning.  How great your faithfulness!  I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).  He's all I've got left."

Verses 22 - 23 from NRSV says:  "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

He gives us today ...

But, then we have tomorrow to "get it right" if we have failed in any way; or if we didn't get everything finished.

And, if we still didn't "get it right"; if we still haven't finished our task ...

There's always tomorrow ...


Like Phil in "Ground Hog Day," we are given the chance to examine our lives and - eventually - to "get it right!"

Emily Freeman says, "God believes in second chances, and even third chances ... He believes in moving past the mistake.  He believes in helping us to become who He knows we can become."

Thank you, God, that you give us second chances ... and, sometimes even more!