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?


Everybody has issues, right?

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Life Post #32It’s been a fantastic day.

I had a great day at work, a great morning and evening with my children, and got some things done around the house.

But, I’ve got issues.

I’ve got baggage from the past I can’t let go and I want to know why.

I’ve been soul searching lately.  I’ve been trying to find out what makes me excited to think about the future.

Well for me, the future generally means the next two months.

Literally.

We have a master calendar in our dining room that shows the next two months.  Right around my birthday in late August, I start planning for my two oldest children’s birthday parties (late October & early November), ask my children what they want to be for Halloween, plan for Halloween activities and find out when Thanksgiving day is because in the past we have had Thanksgiving at our home and I want to plan for it.

It’s August when I do this.

It’s now September as I write this.

My children’s birthdays have been planned – one at the end of October and one at the beginning of November with Halloween in the middle.

My children have decided on what their Halloween outfits are going to be.  I am in the process of getting them and purchasing them.

Did I mention I have issues because I know I do.


Today, I wondered why I do this.

I wondered why because I read about people who don’t do these things and I know I seem like one of those people that-have-everything-together.

There was a lady at church who was interviewed as part of the sermon this past week and one of her comments struck a chord with me. She said that she didn’t do Pinterest so that she could do everything else she had to get done in a day and that it’s unrealistic expectations on women to be able to do everything.

As much as I agree with that, my personality is to get things done.

It’s what I do and have done since I was an 8-year old girl taking care of my 7-year old brother as latch-key kids. I had a hard working mom and a father that was there one day and gone the next if he had a fight with my mom.  I had dreams of marrying a rich man when I grew up and having two boys and a fantastic day job making a ton of money so all my needs were met and I never had to stand in a food line like my mom did to get hard cheese and beans for free.

So far, every child hood dream has come true for me.  Definitely not in the way I’ve planned it, but they have come true.

I want to assure you that I don’t have everything together.

But I am trying.

I’m not kidding.  I am trying to have everything together.

That’s the only thing I can think of.  Maybe, just maybe, I am trying to have everything together so I get to look forward to the accomplishments that happen. That’s part of my motivation to continue to improve myself on a daily basis. A man's reach
Thanks for reading my thoughts.  I plan on continuing this discussion on subsequent blog posts.  The next one I’m planning for this series of personal posts is on letting “my stuff” go.


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


Dependence & Relationship advice from Philippians

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I’m doing another bible post!

I know not everyone who reads this blog *knows* me, so I will again preface this post with the standard bible-referenced warning: I am not a biblical scholar, nor do I pretend to be one.  I usually read the bible when things are going tough, and today’s post is no exception.

You have been warned.

I depend on the LordWhat’s going on you ask?

Well, without getting too deep, I’ve run into a wall with my husband that we can’t seem to get around.  An extremely personal issue, we are still imperfect people trying to figure this living-with-each-other thing out, and I love to vent on my blog.  However, I don’t vent about my husband in a public setting because I don’t believe that’s ever productive.  In fact I believe it’s counterproductive in marriage.  I know women that do it and that’s fine for them, but not for me.

SO back to why I am telling you all that –

I am reading an older study book called “Loving Your Husband, Building an Intimate Marriage in a Fallen World” by Cynthia Heald.  I remember getting this book in 1999, a few years after we were married.

The book is dated a publishing date of 1989, so it’s prior to the days before Pinterest and Facebook where advice and free bible studies are prevalent and everyone seems to know what they are talking about.  We now believe in ourselves more than ever in my humble opinion.  [Trust me, I am no exception to this as I found out today.]  The bible it seems has become a tool to use to prove our personal points and agenda more than anything now-days.  (And it makes for great content when you have a Bible Verses section on your blog. =)

I have done this study before, now calculated to be over 15 years ago, and I remember learning so much from it that I knew it was time to go through it again.

I have a love/hate relationship with bible studies.  I learn so much (the love part) but it opens me up to my imperfections and usually makes me cry (the hate part.)

I’m telling you all this to set you up for the book of Philippians or specific verses in my case.

In the very first Lesson, the thing that stuck to me the most was the part referencing Philippians.

I must be dependent on the Lord to meet my deepest needs.

Did you say “whoa” like I did there?

You DON’T HAVE TO BE MARRIED to tell yourself that statement.

It doesn’t say “I must be dependent on myself to meet my deepest needs” or “I must be dependent on my lover/husband/kids/dog to meet my deepest needs.”

Can you say this:I am dependent on the LordI am dependent on the Lord to meet my deepest needs.

I can’t say that I am.  I really need to work on that!

Now read this.

Philippians 2:3-4How’s that for a personal relationship reminder?

Or what about this:

Philippians 4:4This one is like telling someone (me) who is having a hard time dealing with his/her loved one that you have to be happy with what’s going on.

Pshh.

Philippians 4:5Gentleness?  Right now I want to be upset.  Oh wait, there’s that whole dependence thing….  <Tears start welling up about now for me.>

Philippians 4:6-7

The book of Philippians friends, Philippians.

How do these verses speak to you?

In a relationship setting, especially a marriage setting, where the Lord is who I am (or supposed to be in my case) dependent on, I will have a peace that transcends all understanding.

I will.

I will have that peace.

I am (supposed to be) dependent on the Lord for all my needs – all my loving needs.


So What’s Going on with My Knee?

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Learn unconditional LoveIn June, I messed my knee up while at a boot-camp (exercise) class.

Get this: I DIDN’T mess it up because of boot-camp, I just messed it up AT boot-camp.

I’ve had a re-occurring problem where my knee cap has popped in and out of the socket since I was 16-years old.  Because it’s been happening so long in my life, I got used to it.  It seems almost silly now that I say that, but I never really took care of the problem, because it always healed up on it’s own, after a day of walking funny and trying to keep off of it.

I’ve never had my knee hurt as bad as it did on this occasion.  I knew something else was wrong.  That was a Saturday.  I still had to be mommy to two under five-year olds, I still had to resume my responsibility to church that I committed to having the youth group over my house on Sunday, and I waited patiently while my husband came home from a fishing trip on Sunday evening.  It could have been worse.

It all worked out, as it usually does and I saw my doctor on Monday.  He called the problem a “rearrangement of the knee.” I had x-ray’s done the same day and had to wait for insurance approval to get an MRI.  That was new.

Pre MRI Knee PhotoI got the MRI done on a Thursday evening after work. Yes, I went to work.  I hobbled around, but I was able to drive and like I said, it could have been worse.

I didn’t get MRI results back for another week.  Now we were in July and getting ready for a camping trip to Yosemite National Park.  I was still able to function, but I had lost my awesome for a week and a half.

What does that mean you ask?  You know, your “awesome.” I’m using it a a noun here.  Most people have it, but some people have a hard time describing it.  It’s the thing that makes you function.  It’s the thing that wakes you up in the morning.  It’s the thing that keeps you running during the day even though it seems like you don’t have anything else to give.  That’s my ‘awesome.’

I had completely lost it.  I had burned my finger on the oven while cooking, I was spilling things everywhere (it seemed) causing more work for me to clean messes up (I already have three kids to clean after) and I felt like I couldn’t do anything right the first time.  I just wasn’t myself.

Anyway, I was able to make an appointment with the Sports Injury Specialist the Monday after our Yosemite vacation.  While there, they took additional x-rays, drained my knee of about an inch worth of orange-red fluid in a VERY LARGE needle, and told me that I had a displaced patella.

DeAndrasCrafts PatellaYou do not have permission to use this photo for anything.

At least at the specialist they were able to tell me EXACTLY what was going on.  Apparently my knee did not pop back into place this time, as it had so many times before.  This was a problem that had been occurring for the past 20+ years.  I’m just getting old and my body is reacting to the stress I’m putting it under with my new workout routine.

Insert a big sigh.

All this work and my body doesn’t like it. Humph.  Go figure.

I continued working out with my trainer until the week before my surgery.  We did all upper body work including abs and whoa sometimes those abs hurt!

The surgery itself took place in August, and I took a before photo.

DeAndras Crafts day of surgery Knee PhotoWhen I awoke, I didn’t realize that I would be in a brace for an entire week.  I mean, they told me, but I thought I could take it off to take a shower and such. That was not the case.

Here’s my post surgery pic and it will pretty much look like this for the next week.

DeAndrasCrafts PatellaMy bed, my book, my dogs and my leg in a brace so I can’t even see my knee.

Yes, it stinks.  But there are positives.  My awesome mom-in-love bought me a tray to eat in bed.  My friends have been bringing my family meals throughout the week and through the weekend.  I have received cards and FB posts to cheer me up (and they have!)  I get to do things I haven’t been able to do while working and being mommy all the time.

Here’s what I wrote on FB just yesterday:

FB Post for KneeToday it’s getting better or at least it feels that way.

Thanks for reading this.  Have a great week and I hope you stay safe.  Keep working on your life, finding your awesome and your hustle!  There’s no excuse.  And it’s really not that bad.


Walgreens Neighbors


Does Guardians of the Galaxy replace Star Wars for me?

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I am your typical nerd mama.

Don’t believe me?

For comfort, I watch Star Wars.  All six movies.

See: Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI) [Blu-ray]

I have a rebellion symbol tattooed on my lower back.

I have a teddy bear my husband gave me named Anakin.

I have a daughter named Leah, because my husband wouldn’t let me name her Leia.  (It was close enough for me.)

I used to watch comic-based cartoons when I was growing up about X-Men, Iron Man, Spider-Man etc. – pretty much all throughout high school and dare I say it – even in college (all in secret of course) because of my nerdy tendencies to love hero’s.

I made my own Princess Leia costume because all good cosplay costumes are made by hand.

The list could go on and on.

So it shouldn’t surprise you when I say that I am obsessed with the Star Wars series.  To the point where I own books, games, DVD’s all the first series released figures from the re-release of Star Wars in the late nineties, stuff like that.

Everyone’s got an obsession; some just don’t like to admit it.

I watched Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time this week.

It was an incredibly fun movie that made me laugh, cry, smile from ear to ear, cringe, hold my son’s hand (who went with me) and made me fall in love with a movie all over again.

Seriously, could Guardians of the Galaxy take Star Wars’ place in my heart?

Maybe.

I’ve been watching many YouTube videos that interest me about the subject, including my new favorite character, that I can only compare to Chewbacca, the hard-to-understand-sidekick that you have to love, named Groot. (#IloveGroot) Marvel Comic's - GrootGroot doesn’t say much throughout the movie; just the words, “I am Groot” with various inflections.

Here’s Vin Diesel’s  video on voicing Groot:

One of the nuggets of video (actually the soundtrack) that I found on YouTube can be found here: http://youtu.be/dSj4vmbyh5M.  I just play it in the background at work nowdays.

And I leave you with this thought –

A bit of both quote-GuardiansYes, it might just replace it in my heart.  And best of all, it’s not owned by Disney….

I was mistaken.  It is owned by Disney. =( Oh well.  At least there’s only one place to go on vacation in the future.



Why We Take Our Children Camping

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Take Kids CampingAs always, I know I’m not the first to post about this.

But I have a blog and I love to tell my stories.


We just got back from an amazing trip to the Valley floor of Yosemite National Park in California.

Before I tell you about the awesome time my children had, let me tell you a few fun facts about myself:

(1) I do not like to be dirty for long periods of time. 

In all reality, I can handle the one day of not taking a shower, but the massive amount of dirt that is accumulated while camping is undeniable and hard to describe if you haven’t experienced it.

(2) I hate mosquitoes – and most bugs for that matter.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of them, it’s just I don’t like them.

And (3) I am a City girl (or woman if you want to get picky!)A duck swims close by.

I’m not a Country girl.  I’m not a girl that likes large mammals except behind cages.  I don’t particularly like thinking there are bears right outside our tent or tent-like structure.  I can’t stand squirrels.  They are not cute.  I could go on.

Give me my shopping centers and screaming kids in a noisy place or the comfort of my own home any day.


As much as I love nature, I don’t love to sleep in it.  But that’s just me.

So why do I go camping?

I go camping for my children. Playing in the Merced River

There’s a great article on Parentables on “Why I take my kids camping” that I could have written word for word.  Thus, I will not bore you with reiterating the article, but I will mention that I am a believer in the idea that when you are “stuck” with your family for days on end, you gain a new appreciation both for each of them as each of them will for you.

When space is limited and food is only what you brought, my children have a new appreciation for the comforts of home and the playmates their parents gave them.

As with most blog posts, I wrote this post to remember the times of life when things were crazy, and our family made it through anyway.

We had a foster dog that the neighbors came over to take care of, we kenneled our mini-poodle mix, thankfully my work was slow, and my husband had to take his laptop and spend a morning working on his websites.  My knee was still hurting from a “normal” (if there is such a thing) re-occuring injury, I did an enormous amount of pre-planning to keep my children busy at the camp, I had to set up people to call and check on my mother, and my father ended up coming to my house almost everyday to use our Wi-Fi.  (It brought an unexpected extra expense of using AC in a large house for a week we thought it would not be used.  I have a weird father.)

We were in Yosemite for six (6) days.  On one of the days we went to the local “beach” to play and I took this video.  The video is me standing on a bend of the Merced River, that winds its way down Yosemite Valley just outside of the Housekeeping Camp.  I look up and around the area that we chose to play at that day.  It’s about one minute (1-min) long, and at the very end, my youngest son reminds me whey we go camping, in his own way of course.

He just says thank you.  Thank you daddy, for inviting us to Yosemite.


The Most Important Things in Life

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2Corinthians 1:13-14I’m not a very good theologian.

I’m not sure I even spelled that word right or even using it right for that matter.

I do the whole praying thing, go to church thing, try to find the positive thing in every situation, love making bible verse media, and truly believe that if Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior then I got the ticket to heaven because of grace.

But every once in a while, like today, are those moments where I feel like spilling my guts on my blog about what I think the most important things are in life.

If you haven’t been reading my blog and don’t want to check out some previous personal posts, let me give you a summary:

My mom is dying of diabetes, congestive heart failure and is on dialysis three times a week.

For the past year, the doctor’s have been keeping her alive (thank you Lord for modern technology) and in May 2014 we were told that there is not much more they can do but keep her comfortable.

She’s had a total of seven heart attacks (that we know of) small, but as the doctor described to us, every single one of them damaged her heart just a little bit more, and two of them (TWO OF THEM) happened yesterday morning.

She’s at home now and is planning on going to see my kids (three of her grandchildren) this afternoon – just like a regular Tuesday.

I have been putting off many of the tasks as the eldest of two children that involve getting things ready for my mother’s eventual funeral.  It’s been challenging to say the least to do this, as the human side of me doesn’t want to face death.

The believer side of me knows where she’s going, so what am I afraid of?

Yesterday’s phone call from my mother woke me up from my silent denial.  My amazing & awesome husband is going to go with me to the funeral home I have picked out to talk to a funeral director and hopefully walk out with a plan.  We’re doing that this week.

I’ve put this off long enough.

The reality is, the more I get done now, the more grieving I can do later.

So what’s the most important things in life right now?

My answer is this: Keep having the same awesome, perfect days.

“What’s a perfect day?” you ask.

For me, it’s enjoying the sweet faces of youth I am blessed to be called mommy by.  It’s the ability to call my mother and check-in-on-her.  It’s the positive & encouraging Facebook post someone posted that spoke to me or tagged me in a photo.  It’s the fact I have a job, healthy children, an amazing husband, a terrific family, a wonderful church and the cutest nephews and niece any auntie would ask for.

It’s my life I’ve been given for as long as I’ve got.

My life is perfect - just for meIt’s perfect for just for me.

It’s the crazy, dependent parents.  It’s the guy who cut me off in traffic that I said a little prayer for so he doesn’t hurt somebody.  It’s my four-year old’s tears because she didn’t get the happy meal she asked for.

I got picked to do this job of wife, mother, daughter, sister & friend in this world, here and now.

It’s all perfect.  It’s routine, normal, peaceful, perfection that I always dreamed of.

I know the time is coming for the drama.  I know the time is coming when I’m going to have to deal with death for both my parents and so many others – if I make it that long.

But to me, that’s all a part of this perfect life – so I can get to heaven and be with all the others that have become before me and we can talk about the perfect lives we had.

I’m alive.

It’s all I need to make the most of every day.


Graduation Season is Upon Us

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My children seem so little right now.

I love it and wouldn’t want it any other way.

Recently enough however, our family and I were invited to five different high-school graduation parties for children my husband and I have seen grow up before our eyes.

My husband and I have been married for almost 18-years and have attended the same church in that same amount of time, so many of these families are part of our family.

I remember 8+ years ago, holding my first son in my arms and thinking how as I knew he was going to grow up, I would cherish memories, remember dates, and recall moments in time when precious events of his life happened.

Enter reality.

Eight years, two more children later, I kick myself for not grabbing the camera and capturing moments while they happen so I can remember them.  So is the story of every momma who fells the same way right?

Think of it as you ticket to change the world

Our family attended a graduation party at our church for twelve (12!) graduating seniors.  Many of them created boards of accomplishments, showcased photos of themselves as children, and displayed honors, achievements, and the important things of life that a high school graduate wants people to know about him or her.

I have ten years left until my oldest will be a graduating senior.

It seems almost surreal just writing that sentence.

Shop Amazon – Congratulate Your Graduate – Class of 2014

Although there are plenty of blogs with words of wisdom for the graduating senior, or collegiate, or mommy letting their 18-year old grown “baby” off to college, I offer one piece of advice:

Always be open to change.Always be Open to Change

It will always be there, and eventually, (even if it seems to be horrible at the moment) it will be for your good.

...so that you may be mature & complete not lacking anything. - James 1:4


Tips on How to Spot a Fake Louis Vuitton Purse

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How to Spot a Fake Louis Vuitton BagAt the flea market recently (there’s one every Thursday near where I work, and yes, you can be jealous,) I spotted a cute purse that I picked up just for the color and size.  When I looked inside the purse to see the label, I noticed that it said Louis Vuitton.

So understand something about me – I am not a fine purse connoisseur.  Not even close.  But I do know the name Louis Vuitton.

 When I saw the label on the bag and asked how much, the woman said $2.  At that moment I knew it was a fake, but I didn’t care and handed her my money.  It’s so cute and still a great purchase for a small, clean purse.

When I went back to work with my find, the tiny-bit excited part of me had to make sure it was a fake.  This post is the results of my findings that I am sharing with you!

All the advertiser links on this page take you to Amazon, where although Amazon does not sell REAL, Louis Vuitton, they do sell “Inspired Designer” handbags, many of which look like Louis Vuitton purses.  Links for real Louis Vuitton sites are at the bottom of the Amazon website.

This is the video that helped me the most.

Here are examples of the workmanship, from photos of the purse I purchased.  The key for any Louis Vuitton purse is quality of workmanship.  They are valued over $300 for a reason – and that reason is the quality.

Logo Check-Spot a Fake Louis Vuitton PurseFirst indicator: A real Louis Vuitton does not have the logo under creases, straps or hardware.  Note that the tab in the photo is also not marked with an LV logo, just a plain, brass colored tab.  This photo also shows thread sticking out from the stitches!

Quailty Matters - Spot a Fake LV PurseThe “brass” hardware was not real brass, as you can hopefully see from the photo that the zipper pull is discoloring as fake brass does that.  The tabs on a real Louis Vuitton purse are marked with the LV logo, not the full name as shown on my purse.

Look at the stamped logo-Spot a Fake LV PurseThe stitching is done by hand on a real Louis Vuitton, and the video above stated that another good indicator the purse is not real is by looking at the stamped label inside the purse.  The stamped label is not supposed to be off center as shown on my purse.

Look at the handle-Spot a Fake LV PurseThe video goes into detail about the handle.  The handles on a real purse are made out of cow hide and oxidize after being used which turns them a darker colored brown.  As a result, the handle will also soften over time.  The color of the edging is supposed to be red.  Although similar to a real Louis Vuitton, I would describe the color of the edge of the handle as brick red.

Stitching, quality-Spot a Fake LV PurseIf there is anything from the things I read about how to spot a real Louis Vuitton purse, it would be that the quailty is the number one thing on a real purse.  The tab on the purse I bought for $2 was peeling away from the seam.  Clearly, this purse was made in a hurry and would never be worth even $10, let alone $300 or up.

I think I’ll be checking those labels more often.  Many people at flea markets don’t acutally know what they are selling, which is why it can be so exciting to go!  I believe I would never actually find a real Louis Vuitton purse, but I hope to share more finds with you of other super cool things.

I do like my faux bag….   My fake Louis Vuitton