Things aren't always what they seem.

Hello all,
been a while I know...
But I have been waging a war with bees in an air vent, growing pumpkins, and watering a garden etc.
I have been busy.
I had a very interesting thing happen tonight.
My youngest daughter came downstairs and said
"Mom, I have something to ask you...but you have to come and see it."
I said okay...
So I go upstairs and into my bedroom while she is leading the way.
She shows me a red velvet bag she pulled out of  my jewelry box with the name of a funeral home on it...
She said "What is this?"
I said "That is your great gramma's favorite necklace."

My gramma was wearing it the day she died.

My mom gave it to me after my gramma died, so I would have something to remember her by.
I vaguely remember taking it out at the time...seeing the knotted  and very thin little chain and the scuffed front of the heart shaped locket and thinking that this was an old, (and cheap) necklace. Frankly, at the time, I found it depressing.
A kind of symbol of all that My gramma didn't have.
I thought that I would keep it in my jewelry box as a way to honor her memory.
I never took it out again.
I never looked at it again.
But tonight my youngest wanted to see it...
So I took it out.
Now the last time I saw it was in my mom's bathroom...It was dark and poorly lit.
I took it out this time and the shine on the chain caught my eye...
I realized that it wasn't Tin...It just needed untangling, and cleaning.
So I took a tooth brush and some toothpaste and set about to cleaning the locket and rinsing and drying the chain....
It wasn't thin...it was twisted and delicate...
And it sparkled...and then Sophie said "What's that?"
There was very tiny print at the bottom of the locket.
I looked and couldn't make it out so she ran for her magnifying glass...
When we looked it said on the back of that locket.
14 kt. Gold.
It was Gold...
I mistook it for something else because I was tired and discouraged, and sad...
I had this necklace for the past 5 years....and I never looked any harder than I did that first day.
The front has a scuff....So I flipped it over.
I am wearing it right now.

In many ways it was like my gramma...worn down on the outside by life.
Luckily God can see the inside.
I know inside, my gramma was gold too.
She just needed some buffing.
It reminded me to look harder.
Thank God for young people.
They aren't too jaded to look.

chris out.



It's necessary.
God above knows how greatful I am to have the life I have.
I was dropping off stuff at Goodwill...(The same Goodwill I shop at lol)
And then we drove through an apartment complex on our way to walmart.
It was a poorer area of town.
Noticeably so...kiddy cars parked on hot concrete slabs right next to the roadway.
The only grass was weeds peeking up through cracks in the pavement....
Sheets over windows.
Sophie said "Do kids really live and play there?"
I said "Yes, they do.'
She said "That's sad."
It is. While my minivan may be missing it's gas cap flippy thingy and have a crushed muffler...My daughter has a yard to play in and quiet streets to ride her bike on...
Wonderful neighbors. 
She is also healthy, as is my oldest.
today I was exasperated because she kept begging to be outside....She got a sunburn yesterday from laying out.  I told her No...not after 8.
Then I read http://www.prayingfornoah.com/2011/06/sad.html  
I don't even have words.
I had a good day, I ate right...I exercised...
I watched my daughter ride her bike..my oldest complain about the headset and the fact that we are down to ONE computer.
And I was exasperated because my kid wouldn't stop playing.
Lucky me.
lucky me.
Chris out.


patience and purpose

Anyone else have problems in this sphere...you know, for the longest time I thought my problem was my mouth.
It isn't.
out of the abundance of the heart...the mouth speaks.
It's patience.
I have an impatient spirit.
It wasn't until I learned patience in dieting that I was able to lose weight.
before this last go round I would try any fad diet that would come along....
I wanted to get the weight off FAST.
When it didn't, I would go off my diet and eat everything in sight out of frustration.
This last go round the first thought that popped in my head was:
I don't care if it takes a hundred years. It's coming off.
Slowly, but surely it did.
Now I am in maintenance of 145 lbs...even though it is not my goal weight.
You know why.
If I can't maintain 145, what makes me think I can get to 135?
Then I may, but regain...

You see, in the end...while it's nice to be a lower number...the number isn't what it's all about.
It's living.
I have finally hit upon what my problem is with the last 10 pounds.
I don't want my life to be about my body and how it looks in a pair of jeans.
I just don't care that much.
I care about my health in so much as this...that I can live my life without impediments and that I am healthy and able to enjoy life.
So I felt a sense of anxiety.
Exercise and healthy eating had been the center of my universe for two years.
I knew they couldn't be forever, if I were to make that  the center of my universe, I would be living a shallow existence.
...but I simply couldn't find a good balance.
I had a lot of thinking to do.
I ate too much...again..trying to fill the hole that way...which lead to a five pound gain.
I stopped doing that...today was a really good day.
It doesn't work...
making exercise my God didn't work..
making intellect My God didn't work.
For years I made my children my center, my focus.
my marriage...
luckily I was never into drugs, or money...but for some that can be a kind of God.

I have to make God my center...
but for the last week I have been struggling...
What is my PURPOSE!
I know, I need to raise my kids, keep my house etc.
I have those under control. 
Now what.
What is the bigger picture...
I think deep inside we have a need to serve.
To matter.
I have felt this pressing on me more and more over the last few months.
Yes I need to grow spiritually...but to what purpose?
To shout into a vacuum?
You grow
To serve others...
To be some sort of intellectual or spiritual giant and never share...It's useless.
To have a sound mind and a healthy body but to do nothing with them?
I have been putting off joining my church because my husband and oldest daughter don't go.
Well, I am not doing that any longer.
If they don't want to go that's fine...
But I am choosing to belong and to serve...
As such here is my life statement I wrote last week...
It took me a few years to write this...
again, patience.
My life statement.
I am a child Of God. His instrument.
As such I will live my life first and foremost to glorify him.
I will live honestly and will model integrity.
I will speak and act with kindness,
always seeking first to understand rather than judge.
I will help when and where I can.
I will take only when I have no other option.
I will seek to leave each person and situation better than how I found them.
I will live life to it's fullest, not fearing death but embracing each day as a gift.
I will make plans from hope, not fear.
I will commit myself daily to my home, my family and my community.
I will be diligent and responsible with the resources God has given me.
I will run my race and strive to die to myself daily and do everything with excellence to show the world the power of God's grace.

That's all.
Will I hit this 100 percent...no...but if you have no target...how can you hit your goal?
Rome wasn't built in a day.
Chris out.


Hey all, busy week...

again, Sorry Guys!
I wasn't able to get to the computer much this week.
But my week was really full. Again, I can't post the pictures here...but will post them here.
I got to the gym. I feel much better but am still struggling to fit my food in with the families food.
That is why I will be making a menu for next week along with calorie counts. I will post Monday and wednesday and friday...

I heard something today that really struck me.
Well several things.
Things about the culture we are surrounded by and the ease with which we can be pulled into bad behaviors by the people around us.
We can be tempted to sink to the lowest common denominator.
Look at our politicians, the wall street bankers....It would be easy to be sleazy.
So many people are.
But we can choose to rise above all that...even if no one notices or cares.
We notice, we care.
We have to live with ourselves.
I think this is true.
When we use our circumstances as an excuse...
or our surroundings.
We are really just giving our power away.
When we accept responsibility for participating.
We are taking the power to RESPOND AND CHANGE back.
If the power lies in everyone else's hands...if it doesn't lie with you...
Then you have no feeling of control at all.
But if you take responsibility...you begin to change what you can control.
That is when change can occur.
If each person would take personal responsibility, refuse to take the easy way....how many people could they influence?
I want to be able to look back at my life and know I lived by my principles.
I spent a lot of time alone this week thinking and I wrote my  life purpose...or my life statement.
It's something I read a long time ago in the book The seven habits of highly effective people.
It's basically what you want people to see in you...a kind of modus operandi of how you choose to conduct yourself and live life.
I never really got around to it till last Tuesday when It all just kind of flowed out of me.
I will post it on monday.
Crappy and short post, I know.
But I will be around on sunday to comment and leave a blog post on my frugal blog..
And...I will be blogging three times next week and responding to comments.
I hope everyone is doing well...and if you want to drop by and see my pictures here is the link.(oh, and here is a quick shout out to Mr. Putz...aka mr. puma...liking the new name Mr. Puma...rawr! lol)
Chris out.


Results....the work is worth it...

I was reading an old magazine when I came across this poem.

Results and Roses by Edgar A. Guest
The man who wants a garden fair,
Or small or very big,
With flowers growing here and there,
Must bend his back and dig.
The things are mighty few on earth
That wishes can attain.
Whate'er we want of any worth
We've got to work to gain.
It matters not what goal you seek
Its secret here reposes:
You've got to dig from week to week
To get Results or Roses.

I want results again.
I have results throughout my house.
Now I want results in my body again.
It's always something.
I can't believe gaining a few pounds makes me feel this flabby.
Makes you wonder how I gained over 100.
Time and space I guess.
I took a three and a half mile walk today and have decided to hit the gym at least five days a week and walk on Saturdays
Have a great night guys,



love-the ultimate epiphany (or why I believe in God)

I think I have spoken before about my mom's second husband...who was abusive...who I have forgiven...and who I had contemplated attempting a relationship with. Hoping I could show him what love looks like. Agape love. unconditional love.

All of which was derailed when I went back home and the memories came flooding back, leading to a weight loss stall and then the realization that I was still angry.
Leading me to get around to forgiving again.

Whoever said forgiveness was easy was an idiot.1

I doubt any one ever said forgiveness was easy.
I think true forgiveness has to come from a place of empathy.
And I think I crossed that threshhold today on the way back from the gym.
I was driving back and thinking, when I finally realized what had been holding me back from reaching out to Duane all this time.
I feared that as I gave I would expect something in return and be disappointed.
You see, Duane and I have been through periods of near reconciliation and then the ultimate disappointment of him reverting to previous behavior. 
I finally realized something.
You can give unconditional love, but if the other person refuses to recieve it...it is a gift that lies unopened.
I know in my heart of hearts Duane simply doesn't know how to recieve love.
He attempts to utilize any leverage as a way to gain sympathy, or exert control.
And true love not only expresses sympathy and encouragement...it tells the truth.
And in any relationship, honesty and love go hand in hand.
And the moment I was honest...that would be the end of the relationship.
Duane was raised in an abusive environment.
I don't think he has ever seen a pure and true act of love.
I was lucky enough that while I lived in an abusive environment for a while, I had love demonstrated to me.
I watched my mom show her love through acts of sacrifice...like getting up at 3 in the morning to go to work to provide for us...sewing our clothes and cleaning our home till late at night to provide a HOME.
While my mom failed in some areas (as all of us do)
I at least got to see love demonstrated...
And now I will talk about a dream I had.
The greatest love I have ever experienced and will ever experience is God's love.
I h ave felt God's presence since I was little.
I have always believed. I can't remember a time when I didn't...
Until I went to Europe and made friends of varying faiths, and wanted to make sure I wasn't 'brainwashed'.
*as someone had implied*
I started reading eastern philophies...I read about the hindus, the buddhists, the muslims, the mormons, the atheists, the agnostics, judaism, about why I should believe in God..why I shouldn't.
This lasted for over a year. 
And at the end of the year, I was more confused than when I started.
Then one night I went to sleep and had this dream.
It is still vivid. 
In my dream  I was standing on the edge of a huge lake. 
It was night time and a full moon and before me stretched a dock jutting out into the water.
I walked out onto the dock, it was a long one..about a quarter mile out...and I sat down at the very end. I felt suddenly alone, so I looked back and the dock had disappeared except for the portion I was sitting on.
The moon was full and my feet were dangling in the water...
It was beautiful and I thought...I'll worry about how to get back later."
Then all the sudden I felt this warmth behind me...and this light was just..
bright...the brightest, warmest light..and it wasn't just light.  It made me feel very very peaceful, and loved.
But I didn't turn around because I felt I couldn't.
And over my shoulder came a pair of scissors.
And this voice said...."cut the fingers off your right hand'.
I said "That's the hand I draw with."
He said "I know, just do as I say...trust me."
II took the scissors and did it..one by one I cut the fingers off  my right hand.
There was no pain.
I watched them fall into the water.
Then over my shoulder he said "all my disciples know my voice...and those who lose their life for my sake will find life." 
Then over my shoulder comes a piece of cloth and I tie it around my hand like he told me to....
and when I unwound it, my fingers were back. 
And he said "You have to believe it, to see it."
And then he was gone and the dock was back.
Then I woke up I was crying.
I have never doubted it since.    

I had to let God in.
To be loved you have to let yourself be loved...then you can love in return.
imagine never allowing love in.
Never feeling loved.
Never letting go of the anger and fear long enough to love.
If that isn't enough to make me feel empathy, nothing is.
It reminded me of this:
1 corinthians 13:1-13
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

So, I think I can show him compassion, empathy and honesty...
Like the choice I had, to let love in or block it out...that isn't my job.
That's his.
Have a great night guys....



again with the pictures....

I am not sure what the deal is with blogger. I can't upload photos for anything...so yet again I am posting them at facebook....I have it open to everyone.
I will put a link in...right here
anyone who can't get in, please tell me what the error is and I will see if I can fix it.
I took photos of my bathroom, front room, garden area, pantry etc.
I will post descriptions below.
I had a painter out at the house today to finish up the paint on the outside of the house.
It looks a lot better.
It's been half finished since my husband was injured a few years ago so getting it finished is a big relief.
I cooked a lot today.
Straightening my pantry was eye opening.
For instance, I have three bottles of salad dressing but no green beans.
I thought I had no ketchup but unearthed a number 10 can of hunts ketchup.
I could go on but I won't.
So I will tag the photos.
I have had a long day...I am really tired so I am going to head to bed.
I got only a walk in today because the dude was here painting and didn't leave till five. And I wasn't going to leave my 17 year old and 9 year old here with a strange man. So I walked at 6:30.
Eating was on track.
Hope you all had a great day.


I am NOT dead....

I am not dead...just really really really busy.
I have been tying up a bunch of loose ends and projects around my house...
It includes a lot of painting, organizing my pantry and all my cupboards.
I will post (or try to post) pictures of everything tomorrow. 
Everything from my garden to the kitchen to the kids bathrooms...
My eating and exercise suffered...but starting tomorrow I will be in training to climb this:
This is the old cog railway....

A friend invited me to climb it with her...it's pretty much straight up hill and then a longer downhill hike.
So it's back to the gym instead of these wussy walks.
My garden is in, my front room has finally been painted and the pantry is organized. ack.
Now I can actually implement a real schedule.
Have a great night guys.