Friday, May 25, 2012

Here's how I am growing old gracefully and tastefully...

Yesterday was my birthday. It got me to thinking how I much I have changed since I was a little girl, since I was in my twenties and early thirties and how in a couple of years I will be 40.

No, 40 won't be donning a full blown sporty, matching top and pants suit with a football haircut, but I am so over the every time I bend down my low-rise jeans show my bum crack look.

I want to grow old gracefully, but tastefully!

I can be attractive and pretty despite some of the current fashion styles that just don't seem to fit my age group.
I find myself trading a bit of the sadistic trends (heels with jeans or work pants ALL the time) or rather the revealing ones for comfort and a bit of modesty.

I am a mom after all. Now do I have to look frumpy? Wear clothes from decades ago? Nope.
I just want to be cute, modest and comfortable. So the look I like the most seems perfect because it fits all the above. Here are some spring/summer examples:

 Breeze Skirt >  bermuda

It is the same with shoes...MOST especially shoes...I like Sketchers, Clarks or other similar brands for sandals. I am just not a big fan of flip-flops anymore. I like feeling like I am walking on a cloud or pillows with every step.

Okay, so yes, using age-defying creams and not having outdated haircuts or make-up helps me look my age or a bit younger.
Really, I am probably the only one that cares so much about how I look or how comfortable I am. Silly isn't it?

Please share your thoughts with me...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Today is my birthday, It's almost summer and what I liked least about school.

Yep, today is my 38th birthday. Not an exciting number, huh? Since it is I guess, my day I should probably get to write whatever I want, right?

Well, it just so happens that today is Mama Kat's writing workshop where ya link up and share. So my birthday actually ties into two of the prompts!! Woo-hoo for me!!! Okay, I was probably the only person expressing that sentiment.

Prompt #4: Technically, May is still spring in my neck of the woods, and so here is a picture that I think captures spring for our family. We should be in an Eddie Bauer catalog right?

 I had to share the above as one of many outtakes from our sweet boys we are so grateful for. They can be such turkeys.

Prompt #5
   I don't miss school much at all, but the one thing I miss the least about school is not getting to celebrate my birthday like everyone else. Back when I was in school, the last day was always the 21st or 22nd or about a week before Memorial Day. My day is today, the 24th. So I never got to have cake or treats or hear others sing the special song on my special day. Sure, the teacher was nice enough to include all of us misfit "summer" birthdays the last day of school, but it just didn't feel the same. 

Am I over it now? Of course. And turns out, once I hit middle school I loved that my birthday was after the last day of school because it meant it was summer and what a way to kick off the best time in a young person's life.

Before I go, I have to share this last picture of my one of my most memorable birthdays...a cake made with so much painstaking love that it makes me tear up. I have a wonderful hubby.

 I have been known to occasionally and naturally laugh like Scooby-Doo. I was turning 29 I believe in this photo.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday, May 21, 2012

Challenge: If I could tell the whole world right now this one message:

Recently on a radio station, I overheard a discussion about some college students that were given an interesting assignment. They were asked to post one message for the whole world assuming the world was listening at that very moment. Just one.
Of course, as you can imagine, this assignment created quite a following and a greater response than expected.

You can check it out here.

The responses were all VERY different of course. Some making no sense and some a bit harsh.
I know why this question is so popular. It's because we all have something to say, don't we? Most people want to be heard. Want to be understood. 

Isn't that why we utilize Twitter? Facebook? Isn't it why we blog or write anything? To feel that our thoughts, ourselves matter? I am not unique here. It is the human condition to seek significance.

This Thursday, May 24 will be my 38th birthday and I am feeling okay with my age, but I still struggle with full acceptance of myself. I don't mean accepting all flaws and never working to change self. I mean living out more often than not the belief that I am a work in progress. Loving all parts of me and not berating myself as much.

And well, do I have something that I would like to tell the whole world?
A lot of things. But, if my message is too long, I am going to lose people's interest.

Would the world receive it well?

 I would like to tell the whole world this...
In my short lifespan I've come to learn that what really matters is relationships. 

 Genuine, messy, terrible and beautiful all wrapped up. A connection that doesn't dry up when distance separates. One soul extending grace to another when the imperfect shines brightly. Where kinship meets acceptance at the door and feels free to walk through.

Where I give and you give, I mess up and you mess up, where I listen and you listen and somehow no matter what we both come out feeling visible, loved, and known.
And that is what really matters...
It is the very basis of my faith. So simple, yet so profound. All that I believe hangs on to the one truth: That I was created by such a loving maker that not only am I loved and significant, but my creator, God, actually wants a relationship with me!

No matter what you believe, don't we all just want to be liked, or loved, or cared about? 

Linking up with:

Covered in Grace

Friday, May 18, 2012

In the Eye of the Beholder

Today's word is Perspective....I am thinking I could definitely write a book on this word alone, but I am going to try and restrain myself to 5 minutes. 
I am lonely.
Two and four year old conversation from 7am to 4pm doesn't fulfill my need as an adult striving to connect to other adults. It's been a year and I still don't have a friend here...

my hubby is my a wonderful friend and distance hasn't kept three friends from listening to my ramblings on the phone or through a text. Viviane, whom I've known for 24 years, Heather and Andrea all find ways to connect, sometimes even  through visits.  They all pray for me. I feel loved by them all.

We aren't even middle class these days. We used to be. We have had a ton of help just to make it this past year.  We made a choice for me to be home with my sons and so less money is pouring in...

We are not hungry, we can pay our bills, God has blessed us with just enough. Really. I find myself needing and wanting less. The possessions I want to hold onto are breathing, real, and full of memories. My priorities are adjusting and moving to their rightful places. 

Staying home with my children is not only great for them, but it has changed my life. I feel so lucky to do this again this next fall. If I had worked I wouldn't have attended MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) and made a connection that was the Lord's purpose for me ALL along.

My time is up and I am going over a minute now, but let me just say that if you see life through God's eyes, your perspective will change.

The Lord asked me to be the Coordinator for MOPS this coming fall...never saw that from my limited view, but I am honored to be a part of that great ministry AND...
Bet I will make a friend there!

Monday, May 14, 2012

As long as the pain is productive...

This Mother's Day,  I couldn't help but think about what it took to get my sons here. The true 10 months of anticipation and hope that I would get to meet them. Hold their sweet, tiny little selves in my arms.
 But it wasn't all easy or all so simple. There was plenty of heartburn, nausea,  and other people's insensitive comments to go around.

And then the labor.  After my oldest was five days past my estimated due date, well, I was done and the romance of it all had faded. I wanted to meet him. I wanted him out. 
He was sunny-side up and back labor was terrible.  I wanted the pain to end. With an unplanned Epidural, it did. The pain was gone, but it wasn't over. I still had to get the little guy out. What a gift to have him lay on my tummy. 

The pain was productive. There was a gift, a blessing for the hard work: A cute, baby boy.

And then this morning, I finished my latest Bible Study on patience. It is about waiting both eagerly and patiently. I will admit with the pregnancies that I was eager, but not as patient. 

What struck me the most was how I was able to endure all of the highs and lows of pregnancy because of the hope in meeting my child when it was all done.

But pain doesn't always feel productive. Hope is barely there sometimes. But without it, doesn't that cancel life? How can you push through anything without it? 

I have found myself stuck in believing that no good thing can come from the pain. That the Kidney stone I passed or the surgery to get it out in 2005 couldn't offer any good to me or anyone. Yet, I hoped for it to all be over. Knowing that it was temporary...helped.

I mean pain just because well, it just sucks. Pain with purpose is far more bearable.

***I find myself still concerned, still confused at how the death of my mother could bring about good.

Then, today it hit me. 
                 When my hope is placed in the only one who brings hope, then I can believe that all pain is productive.

I can believe that no trial, circumstance or hard time is forever. I can believe that God will use it to help someone, to serve someone, to offer hope to someone else. The pain will change me and I will know that He is working.

I want to remember that there is also the very essence of faith for all of those who follow Jesus, the greatest hope is in knowing that one day we will experience this:

We will be released, freed from sin and suffering.  

 Thank you Father God for the hope we have in your Son, Jesus. 

How have you seen God work through or in your pain?


Sunday, May 13, 2012

In memory of my Mommy...

I am not sure if what I write today will do justice to my mom. That it will really tell her story, but well I am gonna give it a go and see where it takes me. Meet my mom, Debra "DeLynn" Whalin:

Feb. 2, 1952-Oct. 29, 2006

This is how I remember her: 
My mom was a woman who cleaned with bleach. The windows opened and Barbara Streisand or Ann Murray or the Beatles played while she made the place sparkle. She loved music and it seemed to define her, speak for her, encourage her and give her energy. Although she never played an instrument, she could sing on key. Before she passed away she was listening to The Fray, and John Maher.  A woman open to all kinds of music. 

Even more, she was a DANCER. Not the professional kind, but had quick feet and style. 

My mom never went to college or really had an established career, but she could whip your tail in crossword puzzles, well, puzzles in general. An amazing speller and a quick learner. 

She was a sassy, high-cheek boned tomboy. A lover of fishing, camping and playing horseshoes. She could be quite competitive and was a practical joker. Her favorite holiday was Halloween and a chance to scare someone was her thing.
Playing horseshoes July 2006

She could make a pot of beans taste gourmet and brew the best sweet, iced tea. Thanksgiving in our house consisted of stuffing ourselves with her infamous southern dressing (stuffing to northern folk). In other words, she was a fabulous cook. Her creatively decorated cakes were special and magical to my siblings and I when we were kids. You should have seen the Dukes of Hazard Cake for my brother. Yes, I just dated myself a bit.

My favorite thing about my mom was her sense of humor. I think that was her biggest secret to getting through the tough trials of life. Oh, her laugh...when she laughed it sounded like a repeated, precious hiccup. We were a great team this way because I could always see the funny in the situations that she saw and we would laugh together.

I always loved holding her hand and the feeling was mutual. She was one of my greatest cheerleaders when it really mattered. Like the day I became a teacher. She always respected that career and encouraged me to do it. She always told me I was pretty. 

How she said my name..."Dyon." The correct way. Sometimes she would say "Dee" as a shortened version. I just wish I could hear that today.

The way she looked at me while I was in my wedding dress is my greatest memory. In that moment, I knew how she really felt about me. Who I was to her. How proud she was of me. I am so glad she was there for that special day.

I am a motherless daughter/mother who at least knew my mother and I thank the Lord that I had her for 32 years. 
Happy Mother's Day mommy.

 Covered in Grace

Friday, May 11, 2012

How I see me (Identity)

On Fridays over here a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

How I see me right now...
I have been in this new town for a year. With you both. You trust me to be there every morning instead of going to work like I did in the first 3 years of your life...or 1 and a half for your brother. 

 I often ache for more adult conversation. More adult purpose. A girlfriend to confide in physically, but at least I have awesome hubby and two sweet precious boys.

I am big in their world. They are bigger in mine.
I can't, no refuse to imagine life without them. 

I often feel like such a failure at this parenting thing. But, then you two boys still hug me, kiss me, and say, "Mommy, play with me."
And I know how forgiven I am. 
You both use manners, smile at strangers, choose to share or kiss your brother's boo-boo.
And I know I am doing some things right.

I have been a mommy for four years. Four hard and beautiful years. I have changed. Motherhood has changed my identity and I love it. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why No, Don't, Stop and Are you out of your mind doesn't work...

Last night, the biggest WWE (translates Worst WhineFest Ever) occurred in our house. 

Talk about...Out. Of. Control. We didn't mean to put them there. Honest.

Yes, both children had eaten (sort of for the second kiddo), rested or napped, but it didn't matter. They were extremely frustrated at being told that it was time to stop playing and get ready for bed. We even had a three minute timer set.

 It really started with dinner. Young child plays with food more than eats it. So, I apply a consequence of "take the food away." Immediate response of major tantrum begins. I spout out frustrated words, but hey, at least hubby and I didn't give in, right? While the oldest child is pleading to not have to eat the chicken. Again we don't give in. He eats his whole dinner-can I get an amen?

So the battle continues as we worked to get them up the stairs. Youngest child was carried and oldest child was persuaded with good ol'-fashioned if you want a goodnight song...then you gotta get ready to go to sleep. Of course, oldest child with huge tears still spouts whining with, "I want one more of this or that" of playing, but surprisingly manages to brush teeth and such. 

 When we somehow manage to get the children in their pajamas with clean teeth, we find our ears ringing.
Bathrooms are notoriously adept at amplifying the most piercing of sounds: A high pitched cry in a full blown fit.


Okay, now I might be making hubby and I sound good, but actually we failed as well as did some things right. We engage the children too much when they are throwing a fit. I could be a bit more calm and patient.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Brief brush with Jury Duty

I have been summoned three times in my life. Once, I was disqualified. The second time, it was cancelled. Third time? Yep, you guessed it...I had to haul my curious self to the justice center yesterday in the current town I live in: a mix of rural and suburb surrounded by an outdoor playground. See picture below.

 This is what I found in the mail a couple of weeks ago...

Anyone else think it is odd that hubby and I BOTH got summoned a few days a part for different trials? Hubby's was canceled.

A part of me was nervous because serving means commitment, finding someone to watch my children, and experiencing something that some people never do in their lifetime.

So here's how it went...
     After stopping off at a local, drive-thru only coffee shop called, Divine Coffee and ordering my Hazelnut Latte (full of caffeine), I placed my belongings in a container similar to airport security. The security guards were all business until one said, "Enjoy your time." I replied, "I'll try." Huh? Enjoy jury duty? No one I know has ever seemed to speak of it with joy.

So into the jury assembly, I join the sea of other potential victims jurors. I turn in a paper and am rewarded with a plain white sticker reading Juror in bold, black and white letters that must be stuck and seen on my shoulder. One lady explains that this is a five day trial because it is a criminal case. Yikes! 5 days? 
Then, all of us are forced to watch a video about what being a juror will look like and what to expect. It is well organized and reminds me of training videos from my teaching days. My curiosity is peaking. Really, how much do I know about our justice system since I am not in law enforcement,  I'm not a judge or lawyer, and no, I have never been to trial for ANY reason. (Thank goodness, right)?

So this kind lady, she calls out 25 random names and those people get to line up and be the first jury pool to be tested and weeded out. We all go inside the courtroom. I am in the audience. This is the first time I have ever seen a courtroom. It is terribly fascinating to me. I don't think the older woman next to me agrees. She shifts and I understand because EVERYONE but the audience get comfy, plush chairs. We sit our bums on wooden benches for a total of five hours all together. 

The judge is a women and she is HILARIOUS. She actually makes light of what she knows is a tense situation. I think we all appreciated it. We are introduced to the lawyers and the defendant. I think,Whoa, this is for real. This man's verdict could be in my hands. It hits me, hard.  I have mixed emotions because this is a great right I have to be a part of democracy in action, yet, this case is a tough one. 

The questions asked of the jurors relate to knowing witnesses, the lawyers, some state qualifications or disqualifications, hardships and if the jurors have ever been in trial. Some jurors are excused.  We are given almost two hours for lunch/break. At this point, I still can't speak about the case.
     Later, after reconvening, the lawyers get 45 minutes each to ask specific questions to the jurors. The air is a bit more uncomfortable at this point. More of the case in a round about way is revealed. You get a sense of where the lawyers are headed. One more juror is dismissed. At this point, each lawyer gets to excuse 6 jurors each until there are 13 jurors for this case. 

I am never picked. A big part of me is relieved. This was a sexual assault case. The man was being charged with five different counts relating to the victim. The prosecution was filled with the burden of creating a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury so the verdict would be guilty. The defense attorney didn't have to bring any evidence or give testimony. 

The whole time I left all of it in God's hands. Trusting that He would know if I could be unbiased. If I should be a part of this trial or not. I am thinking He knew best. Now, I will pray for this man and all involved. For justice to prevail whether this man is guilty or not.
How lucky we all are to live in a country where a fair trial is given.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Fairy Garden...(in pictures mainly)

By popular requests...I am showing the beginning of my Fairy Garden...I am still looking for some miniature plants that do well with less sun. Other than that, the garden is pretty complete.  In the pictures below, you will find four fairies...some are hidden and some are sitting in the garden, garden tools, frogs, a bird bath and bird feeder. There is a gate as well as some rocks hubby and I've collected over the years in our hiking and other adventures.

Large view of garden.

Notice the watering can and other essential tools?


Here are two more views of the garden...

So picture a little more green where there is dirt and the fairies will be happy since they have Bleeding hearts for hats and a place to rest.

Happy Spring!

Covered in Grace

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Mother's Day dream...

It's Thursday and Mama Kat has inspired my writing addiction once again...
          Here's Prompt #5: The perfect Mother's Day consists of...
 Well, this is a two part day. One is dripping in lack of reality while the other one could actually happen, no, really

The perfect Mother's Day consist of...
Sleeping in with no alarm, a full fat breakfast consisting of crepes from Dream Cafe and afterwards, a Hazelnut Latte from the oh so infamous coffee place. Only I tell them not to make it too sweet and add an extra shot of Espresso...I want to taste the warm bean and all of it's caffeine glory!