Today, I turn 40 and 25….

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Birthday cake candles cake
Today’s my birthday.

I turn 40 years old today.  But more importantly, I turn 25-years old today as well.

Twenty-five years ago today, sometime before noon, I felt called to give my life to Christ through baptism.  It was during a period of time before everyone had cameras on his/her phones, and I didn’t wake up that morning thinking that I was going to get baptized so I don’t have a record of it except my memory.  I might have a bible with the date in it somewhere, but I also didn’t save many things from my youth so I would be surprised if I actually kept that.

I’ve haven’t shared my story of my baptism before, and I want my children to get to know their mama in every aspect, so I’m putting it in writing for the world to know that as I turn forty-years old, I am also turning twenty-five.


I was born and raised a Christian my entire life.

I knew nothing else.  I didn’t attend other churches of other faiths and thankfully, I’ve never known a life without Christ.

Even during some of my dumbest decisions, I know Christ was waiting for me, in the proverbial hallway, waiting for me to open the door I had shut very tightly and was holding closed by my own two hands.

I have a vivid memory of the day I got baptized.

My cousins joined us at church that day, and although we were always, and that’s always, late to church, I remember the Associate Preacher (or pastor) spoke that day.  I couldn’t tell you what the message was about, and I couldn’t tell you what the preachers name was either.  I feel like the Lord doesn’t want me to remember so that I can only give credit to Him for what happened next.

The Church I have attended for the majority of my life has always had a “system” that follows the basic outline:

  • The preacher preaches a sermon until about 1145 AM or so.
  • The preacher then asks the congregation if anyone would like to come forward to give his/her life to Christ or request prayers.
  • There is a song, followed by a baptism if applicable, and then followed by another song and a closing prayer and church is over by noon.

So on the day I got baptized, the preacher completed his sermon and asked if anyone would like to come forward.

The next thing I remember was sitting in the front pew asking the preacher to baptize me.

Just like that. Bible

Later as I recall the moment in time I “chose” to go up to the front of the congregation to ask to be baptized, I felt as if I was being pushed to go up there. I absolutely knew that I was supposed to get baptized that day.  Don’t ask me how, or why, but I truly felt called.

Now because I didn’t plan it, I didn’t have an extra set of clothes, or anything ready to get changed into prior to getting wet.  A few ladies rushed me in this back room behind the baptismal, gave me an adult sized white jumpsuit, and told me to change into it.

I was asked to confess that I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and came to the world to save me from my sins.

After my confession, I remember not being able to breath.

The way another preacher described the moment later in time as I witnessed ten baptisms in a row was exactly how I felt that day:

I remember feeling like I died.


Now listen – I get it.

You may think that’s crazy, and maybe it is.  But that’s the feeling I had.

For the few seconds my body was in the water, something happened to me and the only way to describe it was that I truly believe my old self died.  I was lifted out of that water a new person, still imperfect, but made perfect through Christ.

After I was immersed, and got out of the water, the same ladies that asked me to change brought me a towel and my clothes and as soon as I changed I took my first communion.

I remember my mom crying and hugging me after I came out from the back.  The church had already ended for the day and a few members waited for me to come out from the back of the baptismal to hug me and congratulate me.

My mom, not being prepared at all, took us to Ole Fri-ole for lunch, even though now I know she really couldn’t have afforded it back then.

I remember getting home and calling my dad, and he was sorry he missed the event.  I told him I didn’t know I was going to get baptized that day, and I know he was happy for me.

Overall, I have very straight forward memories of the day.

I remember being tested in my faith soon after getting baptized, and failing those tests.

As I watch people getting baptized now, I recall that day, more than ever, as a time that I didn’t have control of.  If you know me personally at all, I DO NOT like NOT having control.  I can’t stand not knowing what’s going to happen next.

Now that I get to look back at it 25 years later, I realize I wasn’t in control, and I’m so glad.  I feel so blessed to be able to rely on the Lord for those eternal decisions, even when I feel like I made certain choices about it.

Hopefully you don’t read this blog post and think, “Oh boy – D’Andra believes in pre-destination….

No, I really don’t.  I do believe God has a plan.  You can quote me on that.

And I also believe that we as people make choices, whether right or wrong, that the Lord uses for his glory.

It’s my hope that you know the Lord loves you so much that he sent his only Son for you.

It’s my hope that you devote your life to Christ even though you know you are imperfect.  That’s why I need Him.  Because I’m so very imperfect.

I’m so glad I got to be picked to be with Him for eternity.  I hope you make that choice too.  If you have and/or when you do, it’s how you know you were picked too. 😉

Be blessed today.  I’m being blessed because it’s my birthday.  I get to celebrate two birthday’s today and for that, I am eternally grateful.

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10 Character Coffee Cozy Patterns I’m Obsessed With

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Coffee Cozy Front In a previous blog post, I mentioned that I was making coffee cozies for a giveaway for one of our favorite camps we attend yearly.

Well, I also promised a pattern, which I really haven’t written down, but as always, intend to someday!

In the mean time, I wanted to showcase ten Character Coffee Cozy patterns I hope to make someday because of cuteness and because I can.  You know, that kind of thing.

I crochet (not knit!) so keep that in mind as you peruse this list. 

I am so obsessed with coffee cozies!  It has to be the simplicity of them but the overall cuteness of just having something handmade around something so important, like coffee.  (Hee hee….)

In all cases, I’ve put links to the patterns and given credit to the makers.  Please do not claim these patterns are your own and even better, if you make them, link up to Ravelry where I found them to show off YOUR amazing work.


Hello Kitty by Fancy That Notion

Hello Kitty free Coffee Cozy PatternShow off your work on Ravelry

SpongeBob Mug Cozy by Abandoned Llama SpongeBob Coffee Mug Cozy

Mickey Inspired Coffee Cozy by Wild and Wanderful

Mickey Mouse CozyShow off your work on Ravelry

Turtle Power Mug Cozy by Schmutzerella’s Crafts

turtle powerShow off your work on Ravelry

Owl Coffee Cozy by My Creative Nook

OwlCozy1Show off your work on Ravelry

Online Crochet Class

Sock Monkey Inspired Coffee Cozy by Yarnspirations

monkeys_mediumShow off your work on Ravelry

One for the latest craze: Poke’ Ball Coffee Cup Cozy Pattern by The Enchanted Lady Bug pokemon-pokeball-cozy-1

The Enchanted Lady Bug Blog is a must follow if you love Coffee Cozies like I do!  Make sure you check out her website where she has a Princess Leia Coffee Cozy and a Monster’s Inc. “Mike” Coffee Cozy.

Share your work on Ravelry

Minion Coffee Cozy Pattern by Weekend Pursuits

Minion from Weekend PursuitsShow off your work on Ravelry

 And then –  there are two more patterns that are not free, or are not available….

<Insert audience saying: “AWWWWWWE.”>

This adorable Angry Birds Coffee Cozy is just too perfect for certain people in my life.  I couldn’t find the pattern anywhere, and found the photo on Pinterest. full_2_18562_AngryBirdsCoffeeCozy_1

Have you seen The Angry Birds Movie yet?  I took my children to it and was surprisingly satisfied with it’s entertainment!

And finally, I absolutely love this (Jack Skellington themed) Nightmare Skull Coffee Cozy by Aunt Janet’s Designs on Craftsy.  It’s for sale for $4.99, and is truly a work of art.

Nightmare Skull Pattern for Sale

As always, I hope that this post gives you inspiration and please come follow my Coffee Cozy Obsession Board on Pinterest! If you found this post, I’m going to jump out on a limb and say that you like coffee cozies too, right? 😉

Have a great week filled with coffee and cute things!




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.


2015 Year in Review

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2015 Year In ReviewThis year has brought it’s ups, downs, and everything in between.

Much like a Facebook and their version of a “Year in Review” I tried really hard to post photos and memories of my life in this blog.  It ended up being like one of those generated memes of expectation vs. reality….

My Recap:

Blog Wise ~

I posted seventeen (17) blog posts.

I began (drafted) four (4) blog posts that didn’t get published.

I posted seven (7) Instructables this year.  You can also see these on my Instructables tab.  They are shown from the most recent published.

Family Wise ~

My mother passed away in January.

My father successfully recovered from his open heart surgery in 2014 and was able to take care of his grandchildren once again in late February of this year.

My mother-in-law went through her cancer treatments and beat cancer.

My children began swim lessons this year and my oldest ~almost~ passed the highest level (Level 10.)

We went to Hawaii as a family this year.

Our youngest had the last adorable season of youth-soccer, where they don’t keep score and we’re just out there for fun. <Sigh.>

Kids playing soccer just for fun....

Intellectually ~

I read a total of eleven (11) books this year!  Three of them were non-fiction.  My goal was twelve, and I really wanted to count the Rainbow Magic Fashion Fairies that I completed with my daughter, but I didn’t.

Five books completed from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

The Horse and His Boy

Prince Caspian

The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’

The Silver Chair

and “The Last Battle

With my oldest I read a fun book called “The Year of Billy Miller” by Kevin Henkes.

We completed “The Hobbit” by J.R.R Tolkien this year, and we started on the Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring in the beginning of December.

As a family, we read “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl.  That book is VERY DIFFERENT from the movie.

I personally finished the book by Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze called “Smart Money Smart Kids“.

My trainer gave me a book that I enjoyed reading (a health book!) by Dr. Kelly Starrett called “Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally.”

Lastly, I read a book with fellow believers from our church.  That book was “Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint” by Nadia Bolz-Weber.  It was…interesting and overall, a good read but it’s not for the new Christian in my humble opinion.

Health Wise/Physically ~

The biggest thing that happened this year was that I was able to lose 31 pounds in seven months.  I’ve gained about four of those pounds back, but I’m on the way to getting those holiday pounds off by continuing to run.

I’ve managed to avoid taking cholesterol medication that the doctor was going to prescribe me.

I’m also grateful that I’m completely recovered from my knee surgery back in August 2014.  The left knee though….  We’ll just have to see what happens next year.

And Career Wise ~

This is where the “adulting” part of life gets tricky.

I am so grateful for the job I have.  It pays well, I get to leave everything at the office and not take work home with me, and I have great co-workers.

The upper management people are …

well, they are …

hard to deal with to say the least.

As this is a public blog, I will put it like this: follow me on Instagram, and you can get an idea of my life on a daily basis.  I used the hashtag #DsLastProject and there’s 19 photos that will show you how much I loved the job I used to have.

As of January 11, 2016, that will be changing permanently and I will be permanently assigned to a desk job in the Special Projects Section of Design.

A government worker at her finest.

Yup.

~ In Summary ~

  • The first part of the year sucked.
  • My mom went to be with the Lord and the best way to describe how I feel is by repeating what someone told me: Grief comes like a thief.  It steals your joy when you least expect it, despite how well you seem to be doing.
  • No truer words have been spoken to me about my mom’s passing.  I am grateful of everything she taught me, and I know where she is but boy does it suck sometimes not having her around.
  • In April 2015 I made the decision to follow whatever my personal trainer told me to do.  My number one goal was to lose as much weight as I could before I went to Hawaii.  I did it.  I think I lost about 25-pounds before we left in August and when we came back, I began running to hit my next year’s goal – running and completing a half-marathon race.
  • We went to Hawaii in August 2015.  What a place.  We will be going back.
  • Children’s birthday’s and the year-end holiday’s have gone off without a hitch.  (Knocking on wood and praising the Lord right now!)
  • My husband and I have written goals down for the upcoming year, and I have lofty goals for 2016.

I say bring it.

I hope you bring it too.

As always, thanks for reading.

Name for Blog Posts


Make Memorable. Create a photo gift.


My Bucket List

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bucket list pic 3-2015You know those blog posts that start off with “When I was a little girl…?”

This is one of those blog posts so get ready –

When I was a little girl, I would dream of marrying a rich man.

No kidding.  I knew I would work, I knew I wanted to be a mom of two boys, I knew God and my mom loved me. (And yes, that means I really wasn’t sure about my dad or my brother, but that’s another story.)

I would tell my mom that he would be tall and handsome, and he would be wealthy so I wouldn’t have to worry about money ever again.

Those truly innocent dreams of my 5 through 9 year old self were a reflection of how I envisioned my life to be easier, not to have to worry like my mother, and to have a man who loved me and took care of me.

The last one in that list was an actual thing that I could see my mom struggling with. My father didn’t spend quality time with us the way fathers are supposed to, and I am the classic-text-book case of not having a father that loved his wife, did not take care of his family and was only there part-time because of selfishness and insecurities.

I could have written that textbook of the problems that come from not having a father around, but, as I’ve stated in previous posts, he’s gotten better the older he gets and will do almost anything he can for his grandchildren.

To quickly finish the story, my husband is the man of my dreams.

He and I got married young (19 and 20 years old,) and we first lived in a one bedroom studio apartment with second-hand furniture, a 16-inch black and white television, and a card table that we used to eat on.  Those were some of the greatest memories of my entire life.  I remember eating lots of potatoes, because I am not a great cook and because they were so inexpensive and I remember the love we felt back then between us because we didn’t have anything else.

My husband and I both graduated college, got good jobs, have purchased homes and he does well selling rubber stamps on remarks.rubbermarks.com.  Please feel free to check them out for custom rubber stamps of pretty much anything you could imagine.  We are very proud of that website and they are having a give-away this week with ten (10) ways to enter! Update: The giveaway is over, but check them out anyway! 😉

Remarks GiveawaySo that intro brings you to where I am at now.  When I was little, my bucket list consisted of marrying an amazing man, owning a home, having children and serving the Lord.

What happens when you do all that?

What happens when you try to plan?

What’s next…..


This entire subject is a bit difficult to talk about for me.
At the end of her life, I would often ask my mom the question: “What did you expect?” and that question would come when she and I were at an impasse of how I had to take time off from work to take her to a doctor’s appointment, or to the store late in the evening when I wanted to be at home with all three of my kids and my husband.  I would usually ask her that question after she told me that she was “sorry” I had to take her places.

She never actually answered that question.

I kind of wish she did.  I would have been blessed by the answer to know if she planned to marry another man, if she wanted to get back together with my father, or if she really thought her children would always take care of her.

I would tell her often, “This is the way it’s supposed to be” and I would tell her that because I believed it, and I knew if she heard me say it, it was going to make her feel a little bit better about her need for someone to take care of her.

<Big sigh.> I miss that woman but I’m glad she’s free.

Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.

Psalm 40:4-5

The bible tells me that the Lord has plans for us, and I truly believe that.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalms is my favorite book of the bible because of its wisdom BUT it also has a ton of warnings.

Psalm 94:11New International Version (NIV)

The Lord knows all human plans;
he knows that they are futile.

I think one of the hardest things to do as I have gotten older is to begin dreaming again.

Many times as a believer I’ve been challenged with the choice to do one thing for myself or do something for someone else in need and one of the greatest examples of this for any parent is usually things you do for your children.

And those are the moments for me that the Lord whispers in my ear that he is my parent too.  He wants me to feel the love of a parent sacrificing everything and anything so that I can enjoy this life.  I now know, and feel that it’s okay to dream again.

I’ve gotten better at dreaming and my screen shot above is my proof.  I started a bucket list on my cell phone. (I can’t get the credit for doing it as it was a friends idea first.) 

There’s a few more ideas in my head, including seeing a volcano and lava flow in real life, which our family hopes to accomplish in August in Hawaii.  I also want to start a Pinterest board with my bucket list items, including ones we accomplish.

My understanding of “bucket lists” is to think of things you really want to do before you leave this earth.  There’s a tinge of excitement that I have when I see this list, but with all the cautiousness of a well-trained Christian woman who knows that our time is short and we do not know when the Lord will take it from us.

I’m not writing this blog post for other people to read and have some profound moment of clarity.  I’m writing it for myself and my children, so that they know that if I make it to retirement age and beyond, I did everything I can to 1. serve the Lord, 2. take care of them, and 3. enjoy the life I’ve been given.  Three things my mom taught me and personally lived.

I believe there is a balance and I know the Lord wants us to enjoy his creation (lava flows), what others have done through his/her talents (Michelangelo’s art), and being a steward of the money we earn that is really His to begin with (hence, giving, giving, giving.)

With however much time I have left on this earth I want to live it to the fullest.  I pray and hope continuously that my family and I get the chance to do the things that please the Lord, as He is what it’s all really about anyway.

Is there anything on your bucket list?

Do you or did you have a hard time making a bucket list too?

Have a great week and continue to be and feel blessed friends.


The blog post that never was….

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Hi!

How are you all doing?

Me – I am uh, dealing.

This post is to commemorate “the blog post that never was.”

Here’s a couple screen shots of it.

Blog post that wasn't1 Blog post that wasn't2
The reason it didn’t get finished or published was because my mom passed away in Week Three of January, on January 16, 2015 to be exact.

In that blog post, I explain how emotionally exhausted I am.

I go over my thoughts on how I was terrified when my mom fell for the second time in a week, and wasn’t able to pick herself up off the floor or get to a phone for hours.  I wasn’t even in town to pick her up off the floor myself.

The week was crazy, there’s no doubt about that.

My brother and I were able to be there on Friday morning when my mom passed.  It was – dare I say it in writing – almost beautiful.


See, when you are a believer, there is nothing in this world that can save you.  It’s all from another place.  It’s all from the spiritual world that our souls go to as we pass through this world.  This is what I know and feel with all my being.

I will see my mom again.

Her not here on this planet to suffer any longer is her reward for a lifetime of service to the Most High.  She gets to hang out with her mom, her mother-in-law, her sister, her brothers, and so many others that have come before us who believed in Jesus Christ.

I’m actually kind-of jealous, but I know I have work here to do and I certainly don’t want my time to come yet.

But you know what else –

It’s really sucks to not have her here too.

My brother and I can agree on that every time we see each other.

I wanted to start to blog again.  I spoke with the doctor yesterday and he said the more times I tell my story, the easier it will get to move on.

With that, I’d like to say that I’m back.  Not to normal, because that’s not possible anymore, but hopefully I’ll get used to my new normal.

I’ll be seeing you. <Big virtual hug.>


Disneyland Memes

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I’m not funny.

You’re not reading this blog because I’m funny, sassy, sarcastic, or witty.

I’m just me – but I am real and I want everyone who reads my blog, including my children (when they start reading it) know that I’m the real person behind the typing.

With all that said, I titled this post Disneyland Memes, but they aren’t the funny, witty memes you’re probably thinking of.

This post is on the insanity and the more interesting memories I had while on a five day vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth.

 There’s no real tips here, just memories.  Maybe I’ll get ambitious one day and give you some things we learned, but for today, I’m just sharing my favorite memories. 1Happy Place

Preface to the memes notes (the only real “vacation tips” you’ll get):

1. Even though we were there for five days, we went for three full days and only a part of the day for the first and fifth day.  The extra expense was worth it for the “calmness” factor.  We didn’t feel rushed like we were going to miss something because of the five day ticket purchase.

2.  I have three children, ages three (3), four (4) and eight (8).  The eight year old met the minimum age requirement to ride by himself.  That was a bonus because we are an odd numbered family. That was an unplanned yet fantastic advantage.0Kids on Caseys Train

3.  The three year old still takes naps.  We left the park every full day around 1 PM to 2 PM to have the two youngest take a nap.  The first full day, the oldest took a nap for about 45-minutes too  It worked well because the kids were rested for staying up past each of his/her bedtimes.


My Favorite Memories of Disneyland

I talked with my children what each of his/her favorite memories were.  My oldest’s favorite memory was making his own Light Saber.  My daughter’s favorite memory was riding the Matterhorn with her daddy and my youngest said his favorite memory was riding on Splash Mountain.

My favorite memory of my oldest:

In the future, I expect him to be angry at me for posting this memory, but it’s what happened and I will probably never forget it.

Sometimes you have to put on your rosy-colored glasses. Memes from Disneyland, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Sometimes you have to put on your rosy-colored glasses.
Memes from Disneyland, DeAndrasCrafts.com

My oldest didn’t go on two rides that his younger sister and brother went on.  He chose to sit it out at the exit.  The important part of this memory for me is that he knows himself.  I can’t tell you how much that means to me.  My 8-year old son KNEW that he wasn’t going to be able to handle two roller coasters and he chose to sit on the other side of the coaster near the exit while his other family members rode the coasters.  It was both kind-of sad and amazing to me at the strength this little boy had to tell his mom and dad that he didn’t want to go on them.

My favorite memory about my daughter:

Always remember you are a princess. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Always remember you are a princess.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

On the first evening, we ate a Character Dining restaurant (Goofy’s Kitchen,) and my daughter was TERRIFIED of the masked creatures before her.  She was crying and telling us over and over again that she didn’t want to pose with Goofy, Minnie, Pluto, or Chip & Dale who were all in costume and wandering around throughout the dinner.  Towards the end of the evening, the actor or actress inside the Dale suit made it his or her mission to get my daughter to not freak out when a character was nearby.  “Dale”the chipmunk was able to get close to my daughter and even took a photo with her (in her daddy’s lap of course) as she realized that the characters were not going to hurt her.

Not quite understanding where this trauma came from, we were hoping that our next experience with character dining wasn’t going to be so traumatic.  We had breakfast on day three at Ariel’s Grotto, inside the park itself, and got to meet three princesses, including Ariel, Cinderella (above) and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog movie.  My daughter embraced these women as the real princesses they were to her and recounted throughout the remaining part of the vacation all the princesses she met.  (She met princess Jazmine from the movie Aladdin later on that day.)  It was awesome.

 My favorite memory of my youngest:

Basically this:

Dance like no one is watching. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Dance like no one is watching.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Probably one of the most enjoyable moments of my mothering life to date, my youngest danced to music playing during a parade at California Adventures.  It was incredibly adorable and memorable.  His expressions as he saw his favorite characters pass by in real life were priceless and made the entire trip worth it.

The Most Excruciating Memory (because they aren’t always good)….

5Expect some crazy

I could have cared less if we saw the “Fantasmic” or whatever it’s called light show at the end of the evening near the pirate island.  We did that on the end of the third day (second full day) and I was reminded of why I am a full-time working momma, not a stay-at-home mama.  That was one tough thirty-minutes.

The day was pretty great, the two youngest got about an hour nap each and we had enjoyed many rides that we didn’t have to wait too long in lines for.  But for some reason, five minutes before the light show began, my children were crying and throwing fits all at the same time.  My husband and I stared at each other in disbelief.  It was embarrassing, but as my wise husband told me later, “We don’t know those people.”

I had to hold one or the other of my youngest in my arms, and they each weigh close to 40-pounds.  The youngest was definitely done for the day by the time the show started and was putting his head on my shoulder off and on during the 15-minute program.  Oh, did I mention I had my leg brace on because I had a patella realignment surgery seven weeks ago and we had to stand the whole time?  It was not fun for me.  But, it was memorable for my husband and he got to check it off his personal “Disneyland Bucket List” that he had in his head and I am grateful that we did it.  Ugh.

My Top Three Personal Favorite Memories

Life is a trip. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Life is a trip.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

What surprised me the most was how much I loved Cars Land.  The photo above was taken in Filmore’s natural eats area.  My children are (for the most part) willing to pose for photos with me and this was no exception.  I am so glad we went to this area during the evening to see all the neon lit up.  It was both beautiful and extremely cool.

Everyone's a Character.... Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Everyone’s a Character….
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

We stood in line for about fifteen to twenty minutes to see two fairies, Fawn (the animal fairy) and Tinker Bell, (a tinker fairy.)  My whole family is familiar with the world of fairies thankfully due to Netflix.

Tinker Bell is by far the most rebellious fairy in Pixie Hollow (in my opinion) but there are many other fairies to get to know in the short movies.

The actress playing Fawn in the photo above was phenomenal.  She was truly a woman who has been around children and dare I say, even like them; she was engaging all three kids like they were there to see her.  This was the moment that made Disneyland’s character portrayal’s important to me.

And lastly, I will not forget –

Stay true to yourself. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Stay true to yourself.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

We walked into the “Innovations” area not really knowing what to expect.  One of the first things I saw when we walked in was every Iron Man Suit created.

My jaw dropped.

I started crying the happy tears.

It was like a stupid dream coming true.

But you know what, it was my dream coming true.  That’s what Walt Disney wanted (according to the movie we watched about him.)  My understanding of watching one of his biographical movies (while at the park) was that he wanted there to be one thing that you felt was the reason you went there for, and that one thing would be different for everybody.

The Iron Man suit exhibit was my one thing.

Bravo Disney people.  You got this one hard-nosed Marvel/Star Wars fanatic to know why I went there, and it wasn’t just for my children.


Pregnancy and Loss Remembrance Day

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So, I’m on Instagram.

I follow chels819 and she’s the author of a blog called Starbucks, Peace and the Pursuit of a baby.

Her blog on the title of this post is here:

TrialsBringPeace.com

 She posted an Instagram post this morning that really tugged at my heart strings. October 15 - pregnancy loss awareness day

Here is her notes about the post –

Today is set aside to join together for ‘Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day’ – a day where people can find support in community, sharing and giving love despite the fact that all our circumstances may be very different. We offer support to those who understand what we have gone through by loss and we receive support from those who simply love and embrace us as observers in our story. We are so thankful for you all. My #blog has been updated with a special post about this day and the link is in the profile. To be clear, today isn’t about looking for pity or sad eyes or making anyone uncomfortable. It’s about embracing the love we have to give and share and remembering these little lives that were cut short and now get to spend time in heaven with their Creator. Too many suffer from this pain quietly. I’m here if you ever want to talk … or just have someone listen. You’re not alone and your lost little ones were so loved. I ask that today, between 7-8pm in your timezone, that you light a candle in your home and join in a world wide “wave of light” as we remember little ones lost from our own family or in honor of the families who have suffered. What a beautiful wave this creates across the globe and is incredibly touching. (DM me a picture of yours if you’d like, I would love to join in with a prayer and heart of gratitude as I remember our 2 miscarriages and 7 lost transferred embryos. Or if your profile is set to public, you’re welcome to tag me in it). Help us celebrate this special day … Give these babies and infants the honor they deserve and the love their families need.

#miscarriages #miscarriage #pregnancyloss #infantdeath #october15 #waveoflight #awareness #tearsandremembrance

I think the thing about my miscarriages that I want to get across to everyone that reads this post is this: I am not looking for sympathy or to make anyone uncomfortable.  That is so not me.

I would rather tell you something that is hard for me to fathom on most days.

Despite my miscarriages, I was blessed with three healthy, beautiful, perfect (to me) children.

Me.

I was blessed. pregnancy & loss awareness day

I remember when I was pregnant with my fifth child, my living daughter, I told my husband that I was done having children, especially if this one didn’t make it.  Thankfully she made it to full term and is now turning five really soon.

And then we were blessed with our third precious child whom I usually refer to as #mybaby or E.  He is our gift and still is.  I know the Lord has great things planned for him, as he does with my other children of course, but he is such a gift.

My posted picture on Instagram was planned in my head all day, taken by my husband.  I had a miscarriage before I had my oldest son, represented by the first candle.

My oldest son was 22-months old when I had a DNC for my third child, one whom I got to see the heartbeat and one that I will always hold in my heart.  That loss hurts the most.

The fourth baby was ectopic but thankfully I was spared from another surgery.  I was put on medication for almost four months before my body finally dispelled the pregnancy hormones in its entirety.  Those months were awful mentally and that miscarriage was the reason I didn’t want to keep trying.

As we took this photo, my children didn’t understand why we were taking it.  I told them I wanted to and they went with it.  Did I mention they were perfect?

My story: My life is full.

I have so much to be thankful for.  And yet, I will never forget my losses. 

You have hope. There is always hope.  My hope lies in Christ alone and I pray you know him and the joy he brings.

I look at those faces and will always believe with every fiber of my being there is a God and he loves me more than I love those children.

As I write this blog, mostly for my children to understand me when they are older, I pray my words will help others know that you are not alone.


Walgreens Photo Gifts 234x60


Getting rid of the stuff….

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Boxes of StuffThe top photo is a photo I took at work.  It’s a hallway in a storage facility for the paper copies of old projects.

To my knowledge (and I’ve been working at the same place for 13-years) no one has tried to go through the boxes.

Now don’t get me wrong. This storage area has been “cleaned up” while I’ve worked there, at least twice that I can remember.  Someone had gone into the area and rearranged boxes, stacked boxes on other boxes, and I believe even thrown out boxes of paper work that were labeled over fifty years old.  I’ve known several people who have gone in there and swept the floor so we don’t kick up dust when we place more boxes of stuff in the room.

But as far as I know, no one has ever gone through the boxes.

I know why and I bet you could guess too.

No one has the time.

No one has ever really needed what was in the boxes, especially the old ones.

No one really cares.


I started what I think will be a short series on what I’ve been learning about myself lately.

I’m throwing it in amongst all the cool projects I finish and want to show off and the random bible lessons I’ve been learning along the way.

Today’s thoughts are on “my stuff.”

A very intelligent, wise woman told me recently that I have to “own” my stuff.

We were not talking about tangible objects at the time she told me this.  To me, this means that I have to own the junk, baggage, and issues that I have packed away in little boxes in the file cabinets of my mind.

I truly have not felt more enlightened than I did when this woman presented this concept to me.

It really seemed so simple.

I couldn’t blame my adult actions on what had happened to me as a child growing up.

See, my father left my mom, my brother and I several times when I was growing up.  He would come back, usually for anywhere from three months to even years before he would leave again.  From what I recall as a child of 8-years old until I was 14-years old, he left at least four times.  He would live with family members mostly – on couches and in spare rooms, in trailers in backyards, and at one point I remember him taking my brother and I for a weekend where he had rented a room in a house with two other people.

My father was not there for me as a child.

When I spoke with this woman about my issues, or what I thought were my issues, she asked me a question in the course of our conversation that changed my life: “When was the last time you felt rejected like that?

Without hesitation, I answered, “That’s easy, the last time my father left me as a child.”


My father left my mom, my brother and I for the last time, on June 17, 1990.

Yes, I remember the day.  It was a Sunday father’s day and my parents got into a huge fight on the way home from church.  My father, who hadn’t had a job in several months, spent my mother’s last $10 on gas, candy bars and soda from the closest mini-mart to church.  He claimed he didn’t know that was the last $10 we had to our name for the month.  Besides getting gas we were supposed to use that money for lunch for all four of us.

That’s how the story goes anyway.


If you haven’t read my blog before and you just read this post, let me assure you that my father is very much a part of my life.  He is the nanny to my three children and he is extremely co-dependent to me.  My mother and my father talk to each other at least three times a week and my father takes my mother places when I can’t.  We are extremely dysfunctional but it works for us.

So here I am in an office talking with a wise woman (draw your own conclusions) and she’s just asked me when the last time I felt rejected was.  And I told her.  And she responded with “I see.”

After a few more tense minutes of conversation with me she tells me that I have been using my father leaving me as an excuse to not do things.  It was an insecurity.

“What?  I’m not insecure about anything!” I told her.

Ultimately, (and seemingly ironically) my choices of not wanting to feel rejected and abandoned have hurt my marriage in choices I have made over the course of my life.

I had to own my issue that it was a feeling of abandonment that kept me from doing certain things, including keeping myself healthy and loving my husband for the fear of rejection by him.

I had to own it.

I realize that I did not describe what I learned from her as eloquently as she was able to describe it to me.

So let me go back to my boxes as that’s what helped me understand it further.

There is stuff (i.e. issues, insecurities, feelings of rejection and abandonment) in the boxes of the file cabinets in my head.  Let’s say those files are labeled “old and private”.

That stuff, no one else really cares about because it’s old, useless, and is just collecting dust.

But I hadn’t thrown it out yet.

More boxes of stuff as my life went on surrounded the boxes in those filing cabinets in my head.  They are labeled things like “marriage,” “children,” “vacation memories,” “life lessons,” the list goes on and on.

The filing cabinet, labeled “old and private” was still there, collecting dust and ready for somebody to read it.

But nobody cares. It’s in a filing cabinet in my head.

Personally, I now knew I needed to throw those files out.

I did throw them out.

I replaced the space with this verse –

The Lord will vindicate me;
    your love, Lord, endures forever—
    do not abandon the works of your hands.

Psalms 138:8

I am a precious work of the Lord’s hands.  I know that to be true without a doubt.  His love endures forever.  How could I ever feel rejected or abandoned?

I now own this verse.  Those feelings of rejection and abandonment are gone.  The love of the Lord is all I will ever need.  Ever.

Can you feel it?


The Newest Addition to Our Family

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No, I’m NOT pregnant.  And I’m VERY HAPPY to say that.

This summer, our family became foster parents to two different furry-family members.

Fostering an animal is one of the most rewarding experiences for our family to date.  Sure we go to church and have helped build houses in Mexico and show love to people who wouldn’t may have felt Christ’s love, but this is different.

 St Francis de Sales Quote-Doing little thingsDoing little things with a strong desire to please God makes them really great. ~ St. Francis de Sales

 The Lord put man on earth to help care for the animals.  He put us over them.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” ~ Genesis 1:26

I believe taking care of dogs are no exception.

In 2012, our yellow Labrador, Franklin, was no longer able to walk and had completely stopped eating.  I cried in my husband’s arms the night we knew our first puppy dog as a couple had to be put down because he was now suffering and the only option was expensive back surgery which may or may not have corrected the problem.  Franklin was 12-years old and we look at his photos with joy that he had a wonderful, full life and we were the ones that were blessed to take care of him.

 In 2013, through a friend on Facebook, I read about a program called Elder Paws Senior Rescue.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I hear about something and I know – I JUST KNOW – that I want to get involved and help.

But, with a family of three growing children, a husband that doesn’t share in the “save every animal we can” mentality that I do, sometimes there’s not much I can do.

I heard that voice in my head (call it what you want) that whispered, “You can help them.”

Then the other voice, the voice of reason says, “No, you have other goals, other priorities, no time and other things to take care of right now.”

The voice of reason was winning the argument.

My mom had progressed in her diabetes to the point of kidney failure and was on dialysis three days a week. My husband and I were disagreeing on many things and (at the time) he was suggesting I needed to get healthier so I wouldn’t end up like my mother.  I had children’s birthday parties to plan, a Halloween costume to make and other things I needed (and wanted) to do with life than take care of another dog.

After having a heart to heart conversation with my husband about how I knew I was supposed to help this charity, and give my lonely mini poodle a friend, we agreed to send an application to be foster parents to one dog (at a time) and as soon as my mini poodle passed away, we would request that the foster dog we had would be the last.

My husband made it very clear that we were not going to get another dog.

 I sent in an application to become a furry-friend-foster mom in January of 2014.  We had a home inspection performed within a matter of a couple of weeks, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I helped out the charity when I could, creating a few postcards, talking about it with my friends, going and visiting the adoptable dogs at their events on occasion with my children and my mini-poodle to show the lady in charge that we were a good, nice family with a well behaved dog.

 I finally got contacted by the organization’s leader in early June that she had a dog that was capable of being with our children and she explained to me that most senior dogs were skittish around children, tended to nip them, and didn’t like loud noises.  I thanked her for just knowing that my children were loud.  (Because they are.)  She had a dog that was deaf, blind, and was very sweet with everyone he had met.

Our foster dog JafariOur first foster dog was named Jafari. We got him on June 29th. In the above photo, he is on the left and my mini poodle is on the right.

He was a sweet and wonderful bichon mix and was soft just like my mini poodle and just about the same size.

I had to take Jafari to the vet for an eye problem the third week we had him.

Jafari and I at the vet.He ended up needing more care than what my family was able to do for him and the organization’s leader was not only aware of it, but suggested that he be placed with a better suited foster for him.  My husband and I were again, so grateful that she had the foresight to even consider this and we took the offer.

He ended up with one of his eyes removed and the last time we saw him at an adoption event, he was wagging his tail, barking away at everyone and everything that would listen.  As of the date of this post he has not found a forever home and you can find out more about him here.

The organizations leader told me that she had another dog for us that was healthy and totally sweet around children.  He did seem to have a problem with men though and was a nervous dog.

We began fostering Reese on August 2nd. Reese's Journey - 1

Described to me as a Chi Masterson Terrier Mix, he was extremely timid the first day he came home with us.  He was not potty trained and growled, although not loudly, at my husband when my husband was around.  He had been on the kill list because no one had come to claim him at a local shelter and he was found wandering the streets, friendly, just skittish according to the shelter workers.

Life passes by when you have children and are taking care of dogs.  The first night was the only night he slept on his bed in our room.  The next night he slept on our bed where our mini-poodle sleeps and knows that’s his bed now.

Reese's Journey -2He also loves to be cuddled right next to my husband.  It took him about a week to start that, but he responded really well to treats.

Potty training him was a challenge.  It took us three weeks but we finally broke him in.  Again, it was the treats that really showed him that he was being a good boy when he did his business outside.

As a dog owner only twice in my whole life (one in high school and that dog made it to 13-years old) and then as an adult to the two dogs my husband and I loved as ‘children’, I knew I was a “dog person.”

This dog was stealing my heart. Reese's Journey - 4I had knee surgery on August 12th and was in bed for a week.  He hardly ever left my side (it was a good week to potty train him) and he never did anything wrong.

Never.

Compare it to this: My mini-poodle was also a rescue.  They estimated him to be about 18-months old when we got him, and that was about 13-years ago.  His problems were/are extensive.  No matter what we do, he incessantly licks his paws.  We’ve tried sensitive shampoos, sprays of all kinds, hot spot treatment, pills, you name it and he still does it.  He also tries to dominate other dogs whenever he can, no matter how big or how small.  (If you’re a dog person, you know what that means.) Ugh.  He’s been fixed for 13-years it’s just as embarrassing as you can imagine it to be!

But he’s one of my babies and I still love him. Reese's Journey - 6 with my mini-poodleReese hasn’t done anything like that – at all. My husband and I couldn’t believe it.  Those first three weeks we were trying to figure out “what was wrong with him” but the answer kept being “nothing.”

When Reese got over his fear of my husband in about a week, he began spending more time with my husband (and my father during the day when he took care of my children.)  My husband would hold him in his arms, just like I do with my mini-poodle.

Around August 20th, my husband told me after the kids went to sleep that he thought we should keep Reese. Reese's Journey - In my husbands arms What?  I had to ask him if I heard that right.  I did.  He wanted me to make the decision to keep him or not.

I started to pray.

I had been under the impression that he did not want another dog.  Granted, this dog probably only has 10 more years left because he was five years old, but, still.

I kept hearing conflicting answers in my head.  The voice of reason kept telling me that he was just reacting to the moment and he would change his mind after something came up with the dog, and potentially blame me for saying it was okay to keep him.

It took me ten days to know that the answer in my heart was to keep Reese.

There were so many signs in those ten days and yes, I believe in that kind of thing.

I had asked the children over the course of a few days what they thought of Reese and if each of them, individually, would like him as a forever pet.  Independently my children said that they wanted to keep him, and my oldest was wise enough to ask, “What about daddy?”

The charity posted this to Facebook on August 30th, after confirming with the leader of the Elder Paws Senior Rescue that we could adopt him. (She was just as surprised as I was.)

EPFB PostAdoption of Reese - photo on FB WallAnd that my friends, is how we ended up with the newest member of our family.

 Proverbs 12:10