Thursday, June 30, 2016

Diversification

I started this blog to share my crafty endeavors, but since those are extremely rare it quickly became a pity-party venue. I decided I needed a new untainted place to write about the good things in life.

My new blog can be found here: Blessings Before Breakfast. God continues to bless me in spite of myself, and I want to share those experiences in hopes that they might uplift someone else. I would love to have you visit me in my "new location".

This blog will still be here. After all, I have children, a husband, and bills to pay. There will be no shortage of drama that needs to be told.

And once in a while I might even make something.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the men who provide love and support to the children who depend on them. And may God shine down on my wonderful husband today and always! (More about that here.)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Strong Enough

How do you get through another day when you desperately need a break that isn't coming?

I don't know. I just don't know.

But I don't need to have all the answers. I have God. He's carried me this far and promises to be with me always.

And that's enough for me.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

New Beginnings

I started a new blog so I could write uplifting words that would hopefully inspire others.

I'm not there yet.

Today I crave a fresh start. Desperately. It isn't that I don't have faith in God and the fact that He is, and always has been, in control. The problem is that I live in a world filled with sinful, selfish people. And God never promised us an easy life under these circumstances.  All He promised was an eternity with Him in Heaven if we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

I'm not sure I can wait much longer.

Life is filled with hardships. This isn't a foreign concept to me. But what I'm having trouble dealing with is others who inflict their selfish choices on me, causing me unnecessary stress and struggles.

Can't anyone around me grow up and do what's right???

I'm not a control freak, as I've been accused of being. I'm just a mom/grandmom who is sick and tired of dealing with selfishness and stupidity. I'm exhausted from struggling for decades to work hard and do the right thing so I can finally reach my goals in life, only to have those around me live for instant gratification, then dump the consequences of their selfish choices on top of my well-laid plans. And usually the thanks I get for picking up the pieces is to be told it's all my fault anyway.

In four years, when I'm well into my sixties, the youngest grand/child will turn eighteen. I love my children and grandchildren, but when I'm no longer legally responsible for any of them I will have no qualms with saying a hearty "Goodbye!" to anyone who tries to point the finger at me as the cause of their problems. I did the best I could for those who were entrusted to me, but God gave every last one of us free will and I can't be expected to deal with the fallout from everyone who exercised theirs. Believe it or not, I've never been a "control freak" and I couldn't be in control of the entire world even if I were.

Grow up and do what's right, or bear the burden of your own consequences. I can't fix you and I refuse to go down trying.




Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Butterfly Birthday Card

I really need to find some energy to get back to crafting instead of trotting out projects from the distant past, if for no other reason than that my aging brain can't remember any details beyond 30 seconds ago. But here's what I've pieced together:

The white background was embossed with a Darice folder, which is appropriately named Butterflies in Corner. I cut a few butterflies in various sizes from pastel cardstock using my Cricut Explore and the Disney - Hannah Montana cartridge, then layered them in sets of two on top of the embossed butterflies to add dimension and color. Looking at the photo, I think I also detect a little glitter glue on the butterfly bodies.  I finished by stamping the sentiment in the open space of the white cardstock (rather poorly, but it was a one-shot deal and it is what it is).

Thanks for visiting!



Sunday, April 24, 2016

My Day in #hashtags


#morningworship   #perfectweather   #allergies   #recoverynap   #pizzafordinner
#nothingontv   #bored   #hashtagssolvenothing   #isitbedtimeyet   #hashtaghangover

Friday, April 22, 2016

Simple Cricut Birthday Card


I haven't blogged in over a month. So sad.

This card was made from the Cricut cartridge Simple Everyday Cards. To dress it up just a little I chose a metallic paper to back the sentiment.

Nothing fancy. But that's to be expected when the word "simple" is right there in the title.


Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

God's Grace in the Midst of My "Crazy"

The last few days have been unbearable for me. I am still here only by the neverending grace of God.

I can't begin to explain the heartache that has brought me to these depths of despair. Even my husband, who knows almost as much about me as God does, hasn't been able to comprehend why I've reached this point. Of course he has endless amounts of self-esteem, and what little I had accumulated has been stomped into bits. And he handles life with kids much more nonchalantly than me; I believe in setting rules and enforcing them, not so much for the rules themselves but for the discipline I'm teaching the children, and he more often bends the rules (or outright overrides them). Needless to say, I'm not popular around here, and the kids know my weaknesses and how to use them to beat down what's left of me.

I was recently called "crazy" again, not for my usual angry outbursts due to frustration, but for simply telling a child she couldn't start watching a movie at nearly 11 p.m.  I even used my calm "inside" voice, but she expected a reason---one that "made sense" to her--- and she wasn't giving up until she got one. That was never going to happen, so I walked outside to avoid further conflict. Then I heard her pull out the weapon that always hits the target---call the tired old lady "crazy".

But that wasn't the most painful part of the story. What hurt most was not hearing my husband defend me. Or if he couldn't in good-conscience argue that I'm not actually crazy, at least demand the children not speak so disrespectfully of their insane grandma.

But he didn't do any of that. And to my knowledge he never has. And that hurts more than anything.

I gave up my life to raise these girls, and every day I make sacrifices for them. I love them and would gladly do whatever necessary to give them the best life possible. But I can't deal with thoughtless, hurtful comments that dig into the scars I already have. And I'm finding it increasingly difficult to live in a house where I'm treated as the enemy by the other inhabitants. The best I can hope for are the "good" days when they want something from me and elevate me to servant status.

God is my only friend right now. I'm learning to be okay with that. He might not always give me what I want or tell me what I want to hear, but I also know He only wants what's best for me. And He's always available when I need to talk (which is almost every waking moment of every day).

Thanks for reading the ramblings of a crazy old lady. Gotta go now. My Friend is waiting to hear from me.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Finish Line

The Apostle Paul often referred to running a race as a metaphor for the work he was doing, and since he is a favorite of mine, I'll do the same.

I've been running a marathon for most of my life with no cheering fans on the sidelines to encourage me, and no opportunities to rest.. I should be nearing the finish line, but I don't think I can go any further. I've been kicked and trampled so many times along the way, but I've always picked myself up and moved forward.

Until now. All I want to do now is close my eyes, drown out the noise all around me, and give in to exhaustion. Life as I know it isn't allowing me the peace and renewal I so desperately need.

I've been hanging on to the hope that I must be nearing the end of the race, and sweet relief is right around the next corner. But I'm beginning to doubt that there really is a finish line. Maybe I've been running in circles, or trapped on a hamster wheel.  I just know I can't possibly keep going with the weight of the world on my shoulders and no one waiting to congratulate me at the end. If there even is one.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Birthday Shaker Card



I don't get creative ideas very often, and when I do, they often go wrong in every way possible. This card was no exception.

Shaker cards have become a favorite of mine. For this card I wanted to try something I hadn't done before.  I thought it would be fun to have a window that was open to the inside of the card, and I wanted to try coloring a stamped image with Distress Markers.

I used a Nestabilities die to create matching openings in the card base, the card front and an inner liner. I also used the same die, along with the next size up in the Nestabilities set, to create a frame for the window front.  I cut two pieces of acetate for the window and used fun foam to create the space between them to allow room for the sequins.

For the inside of the card I cut a piece of watercolor paper slightly smaller than the folded base, stamped a cute birthday image in black StazOn ink so that it would be visible through the window, and colored it in with Tim Holtz Distress Markers.


It took three attempts to get a passable project completed, and I learned a few things along the way: The scalloped openings were difficult to line up, so I'll use plain circles if I ever try this again; cheap fun foam likes to stretch out of shape when it's run through a die-cutting machine; and I don't possess the skill it takes to create beautiful watercolor images.  But it was fun (well, eventually) and I was able to make a one-of-a-kind card for someone I love.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Tear Strips and Other Life Lessons for Children Everywhere

I hate Costco.

That's not true.  I love Costco.  I hate Costco-sized products. No, that's not true, either.

I hate storing Costco-sized products with children in the house.

For starters, children think: Supersized Boxes of Snacks = All-I-Can-Eat-When-You-Aren't-Looking.

And if the box is unopened? It should be perfectly acceptable to pull off the tear strip and throw it on the ground.

I'm old and tired and sick of bending down to pick up your trash.  I'm sick of going downstairs to the freezer or storage area to "open" a new box of Whatever and finding it near-empty. I'm sick of picking up the tear strip you threw down when you ripped open the box or bag without asking.  I'm even more sick of finding an empty box.

How freaking hard is it to carry the box to the trash????!!!!

Oh, I get it.  If I catch you carrying the empty box upstairs to the trashcan, I might "yell" at you for eating an entire box of Whatever.

You're darned straight I'll yell at you.  You don't like getting yelled at? STOP DOING WHAT YOU KNOW YOU SHOULDN'T DO!!!!!!!

Simple.  At least that's what we rational, mature people think.

If I yell at you for eating an entire box of cookies for the umpteenth time and you don't like it...stop eating an entire box of cookies!

If I yell at you for leaving your trash behind for me to pick up and carry away...stop leaving your trash behind!

If you get tired of me "reminding" you to clean your room/do your chores/pick up your clean clothes I lovingly washed, dried and folded/etc., etc., etc....stop waiting for me to tell you what you already know you need to do!!!

I've been called a lot of names in my 38 years of child raising.  A LOT of unpleasant names.  Mostly for simply doing what a responsible mother should be doing...teaching, correcting, reminding, cajoling, punishing, and yes, sometimes even yelling if that's what it takes to get your attention.

You don't like my yelling???  Do what's right. Do what you've been told to do a trillion times before. Believe it or not, I don't like yelling.

In short, if you don't like the way I treat you, look at your own actions before criticizing mine.

Are you listening yet?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Resignation--part 2

Today was a special kind of hell on earth. Decades of trying to raise children to be responsible, thoughtful, kind human beings, against their will, has finally taken me down.

Parenting is difficult under the best of circumstances. My circumstances are less than ideal. I'm completely burned out after four decades of constant child rearing (two of those filled with the added burden of being told I'm to blame for everything wrong in the world). My husband and I agree on only one thing---our hopes and dreams for our granddaughters. We differ greatly on what we think it takes to get them there. And there are outside influences that go beyond the usual things parents are forced to deal with. I'm not sure we're getting anywhere. Or at least nowhere I want to go.

So I'm faced with this choice: Continue the struggle for another five+ years with the hope that in the end the kids turn out okay, and when the hardest part is over (parenting never really ends), if we're lucky and we live that long, maybe my husband and I can find our way back to each other. Or do I give in to defeat, knowing I gave all I had to give but it was never going to be enough?

The kids already hate me. My husband is getting there. And I'm tired. So very tired.

Is this all there is? Being mocked, laughed at, disrespected and judged incessantly by the children I sacrificed my best years to raise? And all because instead of taking the easy way out and giving them whatever they wanted to keep them happy, this tired old lady rolled up her sleeves and tried to teach kindness, responsibility and the difference between right and wrong.

I've been told I'm doing a horrible job. So I can only assume they will be glad to see me go.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Joyful


I've written before about the major detour my life has taken and the toll that detour has taken on my psyche.  Before I get down to business, here's a brief recap:

My husband and I planned our lives carefully.  We had started married life as a family of three since I already had a five-year-old child, and we added another daughter soon after. From the beginning our lives revolved around the needs of our children (which was, of course, as it should be). But as we approached the dreaded milestone of turning 30 (in hindsight, it wasn't the big number we thought it was), we decided our little family was complete. And truthfully, we were already envisioning entering mid-life with only ourselves to take care of, and the freedom to do what we wanted for a change. Maybe we were already tired.

But before we had a chance to catch our breath, we found ourselves raising our two granddaughters. To say I haven't always been happy about the decades of added responsibilities is a major understatement, but contrary to popular belief I've always loved these girls beyond measure. I just had a lot of resentment regarding the circumstances that required this change in plans.

As the saying goes, we make plans and God laughs.

Of course, we now see that His plans are, indeed, better than anything we could dream up in our tiny human brains.  Our granddaughters seem to be on the right track. They're smart and funny and capable of having bright futures if they continue to make good choices. Most importantly, they've chosen to follow Jesus. Hopefully, they'll always look to Him when the darkness of this world tries to overtake them.

But back to the purpose of this post.

God is clearly using this Titanic-sized alteration of my life plans to teach me a thing or two.  I'm learning to think in terms of what God placed me here to do, not what I want out of this life.  I'm learning to turn to Him when life gets too difficult or my insecurities threaten to consume me.  I'm learning to forgive...slowly.  And I'm learning to embrace joy even when happiness eludes me.

I've been trying to explain this last concept to my husband for a while now.  I haven't felt that I was getting through.  Or maybe he wasn't listening.  Either one is possible.  And I was beginning to wonder if I had lost my marbles.  I mean, really, can a person be unhappy yet filled with joy???

Yes. A thousand times yes.

And today, I heard this idea clearly stated on the radio station K-LOVE, so it's no longer just my own delusion. Someone else thinks the same thing.  And from past experience I know that as soon as someone else says something I've been saying for years, all of a sudden my husband thinks it's a valid point.

Here's a link to the article, just in case you, like my husband, need to see it written by someone else before you're ready to believe it's possible:  How to Get Joy and Keep It

Yes, a Christian can be sad, depressed, and disappointed yet still feel immense joy deep within.  Jesus can do that for you.  I'm hoping that eventually, as I learn to let go of my will and accept His, I'll start to find true contentment even in the midst of disappointment. And maybe my life can reflect just a tiny bit of the love that God has shone down on me.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Whimsical Lovebird Wedding Card


I combined a few different ideas from Pinterest to create this wedding card.  The birds and heart were cut using my Cricut Explore.  I created the wreath by cutting a large number of branches from a Martha Stewart punch, then gluing them into the shape of a heart.  The white background was embossed using my Sizzix Big Shot and a folder from the Cuttlebug Decorative Tile set. I tied some sheer white ribbon around the bottom before attaching the completed card front to a kraft paper card base.



Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Masculine Birthday Card using Cricut Explore Writing Feature


I've been a mess lately.

Raising teenage girls will do that to you. Raising kids for decades without a break will definitely do that to you. But God continues to carry me through from one crazy moment to the next, so here I am to share something I made when I wasn't busy sharing my angry thoughts on the World Wide Web.

I love the Cricut cartridge Chalkboard Fonts, especially the font called Extended because to me it's exactly what I picture when I think of a fancy chalkboard font (and the primary reason I bought this cartridge). However, trying to piece those tiny bits together from cardstock is not my idea of chalkboard font fun.  So for this masculine birthday card, I decided it would be the perfect time to let my Cricut Explore write the sentiment with a pen instead of cutting it.

After the Explore had cut a rectangular card front and written "Happy Birthday!" (yes, just like that all by itself like magic), I punched a design across the bottom with a Martha Stewart border punch. I then added a couple of layers of washi tape above the punched edge and tied black twine around the middle of the card front. I cut a slightly larger rectangle from black Core'dinations cardstock to create a mat, ran it through my Sizzix Big Shot inside an embossing folder, then sanded it to reveal the blue core. Finally, I adhered the card front to the mat and attached the finished front to a black note card.



I'm sure tomorrow will bring a new set of challenges, but for now I'll try to be thankful for the good things God has provided.  (Although He didn't bless me with massive amounts of creativity, He did provide me a little time during my day to pretend I'm creative, and for that I am truly grateful.)

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Masculine 50th Birthday Card




Here's a quick and easy masculine birthday card. To add a little interest to an otherwise simple background, I used patterned paper with a starburst design. The "50" was cut with my Cricut Explore from the Cricut cartridge Something to Celebrate, and I added gold glitter glue to the candle flame (because what man wouldn't love a little sparkle on his 50th birthday?)

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Chaos

There are no words to describe what I'm feeling.  I'm surrounded by fools making idiotic decisions and leaving me to clean up the mess.  I'm exhausted.  My life is out of my control and I'm simply exhausted.  I have no idea how I'll get the break I need from this chaos, but it is no longer optional.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Tomorrow...again

Every day that I make it through, I think this must be the worst of it. Surely tomorrow will be better. But it usually isn't.

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result.

For those who angrily tell me I'm insane, maybe you're right. After all, I keep getting out of bed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Recipe for Disaster

Take one lonely, depressed, exhausted post-menopausal woman; combine with two not-always-truthful, always argumentative, know-it-all teens; mix in an oblivious, less-than-understanding husband; add normal life problems to taste; shake vigorously; bake in an overheated environment; then stand back because the final product is unpredictable.

Sometimes it's just best to get out of the kitchen.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Masculine Birthday Card



This simple masculine card was made using an embossing folder and my Cricut machine.

I used a wood grain embossing folder for the background.  I cut the word "happy" from a piece of kraft cardstock and used the negative space for my card.  I also used a pen in my Cricut to write "birthday" just below "happy", then cut around the entire sentiment to form a rectangle with a zigzag pattern across the bottom.  I finished the card by wrapping jute around the front panel.

Thanks for visiting!

Ordinary Days

For the most part, today looked like any other day in my life.

I started the day hopeful, but by early afternoon one or both girls had done something to put me in a mood. Then my husband ignored me a few times, lied about it, then had the nerve to disagree with me about parenting. Before I knew what hit me I was screaming like a lunatic about everything wrong with today, this week, the past two decades, and my entire life.

It was brutal.

I was brutal.

After I calmed down and decided to actually speak to my husband again, he said something that reminded me of what is truly important in this life. It isn't that the things that had upset me aren't important. It's just that there really are more important things than those I spend far too much time worrying about.

I ended the day feeling enormously blessed.

I didn't win the lottery. My face cream didn't live up to its promise to reverse the signs of aging. Neither granddaughter did a single thing to help around the house. And my husband still only pretended to listen to me.

But God proved once again that He can move mountains...if we'll just spend our time talking to Him about the obstacle instead of trying to figure out for ourselves how to get around it.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Making Christmas Magic



I just ran across an article hinting at a pick-me-up for the holiday-weary mom, which also mentioned something about moms having to "make the magic happen".  I didn't read what the author had to say on the subject (in part because I'm too tired to even read these days), but it reminded me of a conversation my husband and I had earlier today.

I love Christmas. And I love my family. But I don't love the responsibility of making Christmas "happen" for my family.

It seems I've spent my entire life trying to make everyone around me happy...and failing miserably. Sometimes the harder I try, the worse the outcome. And in spite of what my children think, their happiness matters more to me than almost anything else in this life.

But it's a heavy burden to bear.

When your children are young and everything is new and shiny, there's nothing more fun than bringing the magic of Christmas alive for them. As the years pass and the kids get older, you don't really mind that they no longer want to get up before dawn to see what Santa left under the tree. And you're perfectly okay with replacing at least a few gifts with what they want most---hard, cold cash. Because, let's face it, Christmas can be stressful and exhausting.

I've been trying to make the magic happen for 38 years. That's a long, long time. Thirty eight years. That's one heck of a lot of stress. (And a lot of money---Santa doesn't come cheap.)

If I have to get old anyway (and I have), it would be nice to finally relax a little during Christmas. Maybe have time to actually enjoy the season and take time to remember why we celebrate. Take a break from "magic-making".

I still want to make my children happy. I just want to reach a point where I no longer feel that their happiness depends on me.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Cricut Cat and Cake Birthday Card

 



This birthday card was made with some really old paper and a Cricut machine.

All images are from the Cricut cartridge Birthday Bash. I stamped a sentiment onto the flag, then heat embossed it using white embossing powder.

I was feeling pretty guilty about my minimal efforts in making my granddaughter's card until her older sister let me know she thought it was adorable and that she expected something equally adorable for her birthday the following month.

Where children are concerned, everything is a competition.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sometimes all you can do is pray:

"God, You can't possibly think I'm this strong!" and you don't really know what the answer will be, but you're so afraid it will be exactly as you expect.

And you know God is there, but you still don't know how to go on.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fall Shaker Card




I had heard about a new craft tool designed to fuse plastic sheets to form photo sleeves, but I didn't really think it was something I needed. Then I stumbled upon a video showing how to use this tool to create shaker cards and I was intrigued. I'm somewhat addicted to making these, and since I often mail them I found the idea of a less-bulky version very appealing.

But did I really need another tool? After all, I have quite a few that I've used very little...or not at all. Then I remembered I had a never-used tool that seemed similar to this new one in that it gets hot and has a thin tip. Could I maybe use what I already own to achieve the same result?

I also have a huge stash of laminating pouches that are meant to be used with heat, so I decided that would be the safest material to try with this technique. I cut one down to fit my card, then using a metal ruler to keep my lines straight, I ran my heated tool down one side to form a pocket.  Success!


Since this was an autumn-themed card, I used a variety of punches to cut leaf shapes from cardstock, then inserted them, along with some sequins and chunky glitter, into the pouch.


When I was satisfied with the contents of the pocket, I sealed the fourth side with my tool.  I then glued it between the card base and a patterned card front into which I had cut a window, and finished the card with a few wooden embellishments that had been colored with ink and embossing powder.


I thought I was really clever and creative to improvise in this way, and was excited to blog about it...until I realized this technique isn't new at all. Oh, well. I still feel accomplished, if for no reason than having actually made something.

I bought my tool quite a while back on clearance, but I've seen similar multi-purpose tools in craft stores recently. They often come with attachments that can be used for wood burning, stencil cutting, and heat embossing.

Do you have tools you thought you had to have...but never use?  Are you tempted to give them away, or do you like to hang on to them "just in case"?