A Letter to My Mother

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IMG_6279[1]Dear mom,

It’s been a year since your passing.

I believe you’ve been able to see all the goings-on with your family as they bring joy, and I know there’s no tears in heaven.

Life without you has been very different, and you are very much missed.

My children all have photos of you in his/her respective rooms, something that they asked me to do after you passed, and although I wasn’t ready to look at your beautiful face in those photos, they wanted to do it everyday.

When I tuck them in bed each night it is I who am blessed to be able to look at those photos and recall the wisdom you passed onto me with your love – your unconditional love that I took for granted all the years I got to spend with you.

Thank you for teaching me everything I needed to know to “make it” in this world.

I won’t ever be able to demonstrate love like you and I can only hope to strive to be half the person you were with that gift you had.

There are bits and pieces of memories that flood back to me now and then, and even though I may shed a tear because I am no longer able to share more memories with you, the blessings I receive of memories bring me nothing but smiles, joy and hope.

I praise the Lord that somehow through Him you have been able to whisper things to me, including the fact that you are proud of me that I run and am taking care of myself.

Please continue to plead with the Lord to work on softening my father’s heart, as it has been through so much in the past year.

Thank you for continually praying for me and my brother when you were here.  I have no doubt that it was because of those prayers that I am able to write this letter to you today, and share with my family the wisdom, grace, and love that the Lord blesses me with that you passed onto me.

I will be forever grateful to the Lord that he chose you to be my mother, knowing that only you were the one that could pray for me and watch me do the things that I had to do (including mistakes) in order to be the person I am today.

I know I’ll be seeing you in the future, and as you prayed the same sentiments before me, I continue to pray your prayer that the long life ahead of me be filled with Christ-centered thoughts, love, hope and peace.

I love you and miss you,

D’Andra


Here is my mom’s tribute on You Tube.


How Hawaii has changed me….

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Hawaii SunsetWhat is it about going on vacation that can change how you look at things?

How do you explain something to someone if they haven’t experienced it?

I’m going to attempt to do just that.

Hopefully at the end of this post I have described how going on vacation to Hawaii made me a better person.

Did it have to be Hawaii?  The answer is of course “no,” but it’s my experience and this is my blog and maybe somewhere in my words you can feel the undeniable reality that I have experienced by going on a vacation of a lifetime.


One of the hardest things I struggled with on this trip was trying to deal with the obvious entitlement issues my children displayed.

There were multiple meltdowns by the oldest, who has an empathy gene that I can’t even fathom and at times, can’t deal with, which leads to lots of crying for a boy at the age of nine because his mom doesn’t know what to do for him except try to ‘hug-it-out’ and talk about it.

My youngest was surprisingly the easiest to deal with, and I suppose at four years old he really had no choices but to go along with whatever mom and dad were doing.

And then there’s my little girl, who is, well, a little girly-girl.  She cries almost every time she doesn’t get her way, and that happened often when plans were made without her consent and she didn’t like what we were doing including going out to posh restaurants with menus that had to rival any French establishment.  Thank God they had white rice for her at those amazing places to eat.

In the end, my children literally told me that their favorite things about the trip were things we could have experienced closer to home, (visiting family, going to the beach and swimming in the pool) and although that was disappointing, I can’t expect a child (or perhaps my children) to understand how amazing and wonderful this trip was or what a privilege it was.

With all that said, the poor-raised child inside of me was screaming with joy almost the entire trip.

My uncle made reference to that when other friends came and said multiple times D’Andra “has a joy that’s always there no matter what we’re doing.  I love hanging out with her.”

Those words will stick with me forever.  It’s a compliment my mother received throughout her life and as far as I’m concerned, I’m doing something right if someone else can see that in me.

We went on this trip with my husband’s uncle, aunt and children, who have kids similar in age as ours, but who have completely different personalities.  I won’t go into details, but I’ll just remind you that I recognize more now than ever how entitled my children seem to be.  We’re going to start working on that.

The next thing that really changed me was how I felt about mid-vacation about my place of employment.

Notable author Jon Acuff wrote a book called “Do Over” and I follow his blog posts.  One of his recent Facebook posts stuck with me as the caption in the meme said:

Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/authorjonacuff

In my bosses defense, it wasn’t him that I’ve heard this from.  (I’ve just heard it before by other ‘in charge’ people.)

In fact, as he is new to the specific governmental agency I work for, he said he makes less money here (than his last governmental agency job) and has way more work.

When he said that statement out loud to his employees, I thought to myself, “How is that supposed to motivate us?”

I’m just going to come out and say it: Some people are not meant to be in charge.  Take that statement for what it is (or read into it more) but it’s just the truth about the reality I live in, and lately I have been very disappointed in decisions made by people in charge.

BUT –

And that’s a really big but….

Hawaii changed me from being “disappointed.”

I stood on one of the many beaches we visited, looking at some of the most beautiful water I have ever seen (only Cancun, Mexico rivals it in beauty so far,) and I realized that this trip would not have been possible if I had given up on the job when things started going downhill.

And I’ve considered it going downhill for years now so that’s saying a lot.

I prayed on that beach in Hawaii as I watched the sun set.

I prayed for my children, my bosses, I was thankful for my mother and the Lord spoke to me on that beach as I prayed.

Whether or not you believe in that sort of thing, I do and I heard His whisper loud and clear: I will take care of you.

I gave any and all self-proclaimed “control” of the insane job situation to the Lord that day.

Yes, finally.

It’s one thing to say you’re going to do it, but it’s another thing completely to actually feel it leaving your shoulders and neck and back and heart.

I go back to work on Monday after taking my kiddos to their first day of school for the new year.  I’m looking forward to the day.  Very much.  Which includes going back to work.

I haven’t said that in a while.

Come check out some of our pics from Hawaii by following me on Instagram, or just searching for the hashtag: #BSinHawaii.

Mahalo!

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The DeAndrasCrafts Yarn Craft Contest

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UPDATED: The contest is now closed and you can see the results here.  This post shows all the prizes that the winners received.  If you read this blog post and you were an entrant, I AM VERY PROUD OF YOU!


You know that feeling you get when you are both proud and excited?

Hopefully you do because it’s a pretty cool feeling.

I would like to present to you, along with Instructables.com, the DeAndrasCrafts Yarn Contest.

DeAndrasCrafts Yarn Craft ContestThe Contest itself was presented to me a little over two months ago, and I got to pick the prizes.  When I proposed the yarn craft contest to the Instructables folks, I was able to add a brief description of how important I believe using your talents for charities are.

In my case, and what the contest was able to reflect that was important to me, was two different charities.

The first charity is Senior Paws Elder Dog Rescue.

This is Jafari. Jafari from Senior Paws Rescue in FresnoHe is our foster dog from Senior Paws.  He was found on the street and was guessed to be about 10 years old.  He is completely blind and bumps into things more than I would have imagined.

But, he’s the sweetest, softest dog I have ever met.  I believe that taking care of this animal is part of my service to the Lord Almighty.  I know my own parents would disagree, but it’s how I feel.

I will write up a separate post about my experience of being a dog-foster mom soon!

The second charity that I got to mention is called Threads of Love.

The church I attend has a description of all the items that we accept, and small blankets to cover the babies are no exception. The site link is: College Church of Christ, Threads of Love Mission.

I wrote an Instructable on how to crochet the blanket you see here. Mini Square BlanketThe blanket is relatively easy to make due to its size, and I try to make one every month.  (I used to be better at it so I emphasize the word TRY.) Granny square style Threads of Love blanket example.I know there are so many charities that will accept handmade items, and although the contest is specifically for yarn & thread craft, I know many charities will accept sewn items.


A run down of the prizes is as follows:

Grand Prize includes:
Samsung WB250F 14.2MP CMOS Smart Digital Camera

Transcend 32 GB Flash Memory Card

Case Logic DCB-302 Compact Case for Camera

The Grand Prize, the Judges Prize and the First Prize winners also get:

Chemo Caps & Wraps
(Crochet Patterns)
Crochet Lite Hook, Size H & I, that you can find over at

I hope you check the contest out and please feel free to message me on Instructables for a free digital gift!