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


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


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"?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Truly Golden Years

This weekend, I cried.   But they were tears of joy.  Every single one.

We'll start with the smallest moments of happiness and work up to the biggest.

The "smallest" moment wasn't really small at all.  It's just that it involved my tiny little grandchildren. (Don't be fooled--they might be small in stature, but they occupy a huge place in my heart.)  The joy came not only in that I would get to spend a few hours with them, but also in knowing that they actually wanted to see me.  Well, mostly it was my tiny little granddaughter, a mini version of her mama, who was excited to see her Nana.  But since I've raised four other girls who quite frequently can't stand the sight of me (and often feel the need to express those feelings), you can't imagine the joy I feel in having one who doesn't yet hate me. And since I won't be raising her, there's a real possibility that she might actually love me forever.

I'll take a "small" victory any day.

The reason I was able to see my youngest granddaughter and grandson was because we were all attending my niece's wedding on Saturday.  My niece is such a beautiful, kind person, and I was so happy to see her marry the love of her life.  He seems like a fine young man, and although I don't know him very well, I can clearly see that he makes her happy. And that makes me happy.  And even though this marriage seemed to happen in a whirlwind, I know from my own personal experience that when God sends you the right person, you just know.  I hope she and her husband will have at least as many years together as my husband and I have had, and I pray they will all be very happy ones.  Even though I cried yesterday, they were tears of absolute joy.

And this morning in church I stood beside my younger grand/daughter as she was baptized to show her faith in Jesus and her willingness to follow Him as the Lord of her life.  I (mostly) choked back my tears (13-year-old girls are extremely embarrassed by sobbing grand/mothers), but the joy I felt was overwhelming.  Both grand/daughters have now committed their lives to following Jesus, and I can clearly see exactly why I had to sacrifice my "golden years".

It wasn't really a sacrifice at all.  It was a gift from God. These truly are my golden years.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Cricut Cowboy Card

My husband was starting a new job, and at the last minute I decided to make a card to let him know I was praying for him. Since the idea didn't dawn on me until...well, nearly dawn, I decided to use this little cowboy I had previously cut from the Cricut cartridge A Child's Year. 

Just to clarify a couple of things: My husband isn't a cowboy and his new job isn't in the rodeo.  But he did wear a cowboy-style shirt in his favorite elementary school picture, which was enough of a connection for me at 3 a.m.  And the card was supposed to say, "Howdy, cowboy!", but that didn't happen.

Back to the card...

I wanted to play around with some reactive foil and my new toner pen, so I added foil to the cowboy's spurs. I tried writing a sentiment with the toner pen and adding foil, but that was a total failure. (Why do I always think it's a good idea to try new techniques at the last minute???)  Anyway, since I had already glued the cowboy to my card, I had to cut the sentiment away and work with what remained. I grabbed a new blank card, mounted what was left of my cowboy card on silver shimmer cardstock, then added some snakeskin washi tape and silver star sequins.

It's the thought that counts, after all. Even if that thought comes just before sunrise.

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Golden Girls - Words of Wisdom

"I don't want to send him back to an unhappy home. But we're grandmothers. It wouldn't be fair to be this old and have to raise children."      
                                                                -  Rose Nylund, The Golden Girls

I won't even try to explain.  You'll either understand or you won't.

The end.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today was my birthday.

There was no elaborate party.  For the most part, it was just another day.  But I'm okay with that.

Over the past year, I've wondered if I would even make it this far.  There were days I wasn't sure I could survive to another birthday, and others when I wasn't sure I wanted to.

But here I am, by the grace of God.

Life hasn't been easy.  I have struggles that most people know nothing about.  But God has carried me through them with lots of love, mercy, and the gift of an amazing husband.

At church this morning we celebrated The Lord's Supper.  Nothing touches my soul more than a tangible reminder of what Jesus did for me.  For you.  For all of us.  To experience this on my birthday was truly a beautiful gift.

Thank you Jesus for another year of life, and most of all, for giving Your life to save a sinner like me. A truly happy birthday, indeed.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

How it Should Be

Today was a fun day. It was, for the most part, the kind of day I've been longing for. My husband and I went for a nice long hike, then went out for a simple dinner together. Just the two of us. Of course there was a little teenage drama thrown in (to remind us that our work isn't yet over, I suppose). But it was still a great day spent in the company of my best friend, enjoying the beauty of our Creator.

I really thought about removing my post from last night...the one where I complained about being tired, stressed, and just a little bit sleep-deprived. Today put me in a completely different frame of mind and gave me a glimpse into the peaceful life my husband and I might someday enjoy--if we can only live long enough. And I'm ashamed that I sometimes get caught up in my disappointment over the turn my life took instead of thanking God every day for all He has given me, including His never ending grace and mercy.

But if my blog is anything, it is brutally honest. It wouldn't be an accurate depiction of my life, and me, if I started removing posts because my feelings have changed. Some days my moods seem to shift with the wind, thanks in large part to menopause and teenage grand/daughters, so if I started removing posts after a change of heart I'd soon have a blank page.

My blog is a hodgepodge of my good days, my bad days, my thankfulness for God's forgiveness, and a few craft projects thrown in here and there. And I think that's how it should remain.

After all, life can be a little messy.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


I'm beyond exhausted. Forget the nearly four decades I've spent raising children. I'm just talking about this week.

I don't know how many hours of sleep I've averaged, but with The Princess working about four nights a week, sometimes until 4 a.m. (I HATE late-night drive-throughs!), I am more sleep-deprived than a mom of newborn triplets (and a heck of a lot older). Last night I slept a maximum of four hours, and that was probably one of my more restful nights.

It's 12:36 a.m. and here I sit, waiting, waiting, waiting.

And it isn't just the lack of sleep that's taking a toll...the stress is killing me. I'm drained physically, mentally, emotionally and any other way possible. And that's just from the kids who live with me. I won't even address the other factors.

This weekend I will "celebrate" my birthday. Already my modest plans have been changed several times, and without enough sleep, I seriously doubt I will feel like hiking tomorrow. Is a short hike in the mountains really too much for an old lady to expect for her birthday???!!! 

It's turning out to be the fabulous weekend I've been told I deserve. Happy birthday to me.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Numbered Birthday Shaker Card

My granddaughter was celebrating her 13th birthday (yes, I would now have two teenage girls under my roof...again), so I felt her card needed to reflect that milestone.  And since I'm still working on my shaker card skills, I thought I'd give that another try.

Using my Cricut Explore and the Design Space software, I designed a rectangular card front, then sliced the number "13" from it using the Cricut cartridge Hello Kitty Font. I backed the cutout with a piece of acetate to make a window, then adhered foam tape to the backside of the paper around the number to form the border of the shaker area. I put a generous amount of chunky glitter and microbeads within the foam tape border, then sealed it by attaching the solid pink background paper. I glued the constructed shaker front to a standard card blank, then finished by decorating the front with a strip of patterned paper topped with a single small cupcake.. The number "13" that I had previously cut from the card front was used to dress up the outside of the envelope. After all, turning 13 is a pretty big deal!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Driving Miss Crazy


As I pulled into my driveway at 12:30 a.m. tonight (this morning?) after dropping Chatty Cathy off at a sleepover (long story), it occurred to me that I might be close to losing what's left of my mind.

A week ago The Princess was in an accident that totaled her car. Luckily she wasn't hurt and it wasn't her fault.  She finally got a rental car on Thursday.  On Friday she was rear-ended by another student after leaving school.  Again, I feel fortunate that no one was injured and that it was the other driver's fault.

But dang.

And since my husband and I aren't looking to start chauffering her around again, we spent Saturday desperately looking for a reliable, inexpensive car that wouldn't require one of us to sell a kidney. (I doubt there's much of a market for body parts with this much wear and tear.)

Today (yesterday?) was spent driving Chatty Cathy around.  The chauffering started immediately after church and didn't end until the day was over. Literally.

I'm tired.  Raising children is exhausting. And apparently neverending. My husband and I no longer even pretend to be anything other than two ships passing in the night. It's sad really. I thought we planned our lives a little better than that.

Unrelenting stress is driving me insane, and I'm pretty sure it's a short trip from here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Human Emotions

In defense of loving mothers everywhere, myself included...

Frequently I use my blog as an outlet to express my frustrations with life, especially motherhood. I forget that occasionally my blog is actually read by somebody. The primary reason I don't use my full name, or link my blog to other social media outlets, is to avoid embarrassing or hurting someone I know. But I am a human being with real human feelings (although it often seems that moms aren't considered "real" people), and I do sometimes say things that are very real. A person, even a mother, can only take so much.

Mothers are human beings, first and foremost. We don't stop feeling once we have children. As a matter of fact, our feelings become much more intense when we have children we love more than life itself, and nothing hurts more than giving all we have to those children only to receive hateful comments, disrespect, thoughtlessness, and never-ending blame in return.

There isn't a derogatory name that hasn't been hurled my way at one time or another in my 37 years of child rearing. It hurts, especially when I've tried to give my best to my children. I'm sorry if my best wasn't everything they thought they needed, but it was all I had to give. I had a childhood, too, and it made me who I am, for better or worse. Mothers aren't robots, created solely for the purpose of handing out wishes and rainbows and problem-free childhoods. We come into the job carrying the weight of our own baggage. Some loads are heavier than others.

I have been accused of thinking I'm perfect, usually in response to correcting one of my children or when using my own experiences to teach life lessons. I have never once thought I was perfect. I am actually quite hard on myself, always wishing I had done one thing or another differently and being painfully aware of my shortcomings.

I have always loved my children, even in moments when I didn't like them very much. But even mothers are allowed to hold their children accountable for their own actions and choices. Actually, I'm pretty sure that's one of the most important aspects of the job.

God made me, loves me, and gave me the same human emotions He gave every other person He ever created. Becoming a mother didn't remove my ability to feel pain. A mother's heart doesn't just break when her children suffer; sometimes our hearts break when our children inflict suffering on us.

I try my best to observe the Golden Rule---to treat others as I would like to be treated---but in my humanity I sometimes fail. As a mother, I have an obligation to do my best to raise the children with whom I've been entrusted so that they will hopefully become kind, responsible, mature adults. Almost no one gets through childhood without a few bumps and bruises. Parents receive on-the-job training. Children don't come with instruction manuals, probably because no two children are exactly the same.  Most parents do the best they can with what they know, what they've experienced, and what they think each child needs.

Life isn't perfect.  Not for children, not for parents. We can take our childhood experiences and learn from them, or we can use them as weapons against those who raised us. Only one of those choices will make you a better person. The choices you make as an adult are what define you. You alone are responsible for what you make of the life you were given, even if you feel you deserved more. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Never Alone

Have you ever felt alone?  I think we all have at one time or another, even when surrounded by people.  Sometimes I think that's when we feel it most.  Right now I feel completely forgotten, hurt, unloved...very much alone.

But we will never be abandoned by God.  He cares.  He's there for us, day or night, every single day.

Other people will let us down.  And we will disappoint others.  But that's because we're all human and imperfect.

God is perfect.  And no matter how much or how often we fail, God won't fail us. Maybe He won't give us what we want, but He'll carry us through anything we face. All we have to do is ask.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Birthday Card Money Holder

My granddaughter needed a last-minute gift for a friend (do children ever plan in advance?), so we ended up with that most personal of all gifts---cash.  Luckily, most children are perfectly okay with receiving money to buy something they really want.  I love those kids.

I thought it would be nice to at least make a card to hold the money, so I had my granddaughter choose paper and the sentiment. I had recently purchased a cool die from Papertrey Ink, the Zipper Border Die, and thought this would be a good opportunity to try it out.

The card base was made from a piece of cardstock folded into a matchbook shape. I figured out the height and width I wanted, and cut it after doubling the height (for a top-fold card) and adding a couple of inches to fold up across the bottom.  

The "happy birthday" sentiment is from the Cricut cartridge Martha Stewart Birthday Cake Art. I cut a decorative border across the bottom using a Fiskars border punch, which I then backed with a small strip of white cardstock.  I used my Martha Stewart Custom Stamp Setting Kit to create the "pull" stamp for the tab area of the tear strip.  

After I assembled the card elements I had my granddaughter write a message inside.  I enclosed the cash, then used my ATG gun to seal it up so that the money could only be accessed by pulling the tear strip.

I never heard, "You ruined my life!" after my granddaughter returned home, so I can only assume everything functioned as expected.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 18, 2015


I'm sitting here at 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday night wondering how I got here. I'm waiting on my two granddaughters to return home from their evening activities, and the earliest I can expect either of them is 1 a.m. My husband just went to bed after I finally convinced him that since I can't possibly fall asleep until both girls have made it safely home, there is no reason we should both be sleep-deprived.

Where are my golden years? 

I love these two girls more than life itself. But I'm watching my life slip away. It seems I'm always playing a waiting game--waiting for someone to need a ride, waiting for someone to get home at night, waiting, waiting, always waiting. But time doesn't wait for me. I'm not getting any younger.

I need peace. I need rest. I need a few good years to reconnect with my husband after decades of endless childraising. 

But time is almost up.

I'm more exhausted than ever. I haven't slept all week. I won't get enough sleep again tonight. And the only times my husband and I spent together all week included one or both granddaughters.

I'm waiting on a break.  And a little of the life I worked hard to achieve.

I find myself frequently telling the girls that life isn't fair. That no matter what we do that is good and responsible and kind and ethical, we will sometimes watch others who didn't do the right thing receive what we feel we deserve. It's simply part of life in a sinful world. We can't let it change who we are. The truth is, we might never see our reward until we get to spend eternity with God.

But the waiting isn't easy.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Beach-themed Mason Jar Candle

I found an adorable beach-themed mason jar candle on Pinterest, and since I'll probably never achieve my dream of actually living at the beach, I decided the next-best thing was a candle reminiscent of a sandy beach covered in seashells.

Okay, that isn't quite true.  This project will never replace the soothing sounds of ocean waves, or the peaceful, shoreline view of water meeting sky.  But it will have to suffice for now.  And it is cute if I do say so myself.

The original design can be found here.

Even though the project was titled "Mason Jar Candle Holder for a Beach Wedding", I have neither a wedding nor beach trip planned any time soon, so I'll call my project "Beach-themed Candle to Soothe the Soul and Guilty Conscience of a Stressed-out Grand/mother Who Needs to Use Some of Her Massive Craft Hoard".

On second thought, I'll just call it "Beach-themed Mason Jar Candle".

I started by using blue craft paint to color the outside of a clean, empty spaghetti jar.  After the paint had dried, I made a candle inside the jar (as you can see, I clearly needed more wax to actually fill the jar). While I waited for the candle to harden, I colored some Diamond Dust with Adirondack Alcohol Ink to give it the appearance of sand.  When the candle was ready, I brushed a coat of Mod Podge around the bottom couple of inches of the jar, then coated it with the Diamond Dust.  After everything had dried, I sprayed a few coats of clear sealant over the entire jar.  While waiting for the sealant to dry, I used my glue gun, clear glue sticks, and silicone molds to create the shells, sand dollar and starfish, which I painted with a variety of acrylic craft paints for a more natural appearance. The final steps were to tie jute rope around the top of the jar and attach the shells to the jar using my glue gun.

Have you been "Pin"spired lately? What did you make?  And how did we survive before Pinterest???

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cupcake Birthday Card

This simple birthday card was made using a cupcake from the Cricut cartridge Simply Charmed. I added a few shiny heart-shaped "sprinkles", then finished with a little glitter glue on the candle flame.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Octopus Birthday Card

Once again I'm waiting for my creative juices to flow or my energy level to rise. It could be a while. Until then, I thought I'd share a card I made last year but never posted.

This little octopus is from the Cricut cartridge Birthday Bash, which is one of my favorites. I also cut a flag from the same cartridge, then stamped it with a birthday sentiment.

I have to say the little guy appears to be struggling--or juggling.  Either way, I admire his tenacity.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, October 2, 2015


Sometimes in life we can be hurt in ways that threaten to consume us. Even time seems incapable of healing those hurts.

I've been dealing with just such a circumstance. Today I felt completely powerless. I couldn't move past the excruciating pain deep within my soul. And for some reason, maybe because I couldn't see past my anger at the injustice of it all, God seemed so very far away.  And I honestly wasn't spending much of my effort seeking His presence.

But now it's quiet, everyone is in bed, and this day's particular trials are behind me. And I can finally feel God's love and care. Tomorrow might be just as difficult as today, but I pray for the wisdom to seek the power I need before I reach the point of hopelessness and despair.

Thank you, God, for your grace and mercy, and for loving a sinner like me.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dangers at Home

My dog tried to kill me tonight.

I'm not sure he acted alone. It could have been a murder conspiracy. There's always somebody mad at me for something, and any one of them could have put him up to it.

After spending hours trying to find the reason my IPad photo stream isn't working (instead of sleeping like normal people do at 1 a.m.), I needed to get up from the sofa and visit the ladies' room. The light was off, and I guess the dog thought it would be fun to lay on the floor behind the ottoman where I couldn't see him. I put on my slippers, walked around the ottoman, and...


I have no idea how he managed to conceal himself so thoroughly. He's large, old, breathes heavily, and makes random grunting noises. (Actually, that entire description sounds a lot like me.) However it happened, I face planted on the tile floor, smacked one knee really hard, jammed toes on both feet, and bruised my hand. And the only thing I was drinking was water.

Not one soul came downstairs to check out the commotion.

If I do finally sleep tonight, I'll do it with one eye open.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Upward Falling

Today I found myself teetering on the brink of sanity, wondering how I could go on or if I even should.  And once again, I found God waiting to pull me back into His loving embrace.

The world can be a cruel place.  Sometimes even those we love hurt us more than we can bear.

It's during those times of extreme anguish that God's presence is often most evident.  Lately, I find myself ending each day simply praying for the strength to make it until morning.  And in those moments, I feel God's love and know He will get me through.  I certainly can't do it on my own.

The past couple of decades have brought heartache into my life, accompanied by anxiety, fear, grief, anger, frustration, depression and an overwhelming lack of self-worth.  But I have never before felt this close to God.  The circumstances of life have been difficult, but I find peace in knowing the pain has taken me exactly where I need to be.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mothers are People, Too

We weren't always mothers. Our lives didn't begin when we had children. Once upon a time we had dreams. We were people who didn't yet spend our days cooking, cleaning endlessly, kissing boo-boos, peeing with the door open, handing out discipline, handing out snacks, wiping tears, loving with everything we had, and crying ourselves to sleep because we never felt good enough.

Once we were children ourselves. Our lives weren't always perfect. But we moved forward, determined to fulfill our dreams of Prince Charming, a castle (or just a house with a white picket fence in Suburbia), and children who would fill our lives with joy.

Those of us fortunate enough to be blessed with everything we ever wanted try to be the best mothers we can possibly be. But The Perfect Mother doesn't exist. There are horrible mothers, really good mothers, and somewhere in the middle the rest of us live, just doing our best every day with the tools we have and the burdens we bear.

And that's all any mother can do.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

What Really Matters

Today was going to be a productive day. I was finally going to get a jump on all those crafting projects I had collected in my mind (and on Pinterest). Of course I first had to do laundry. (I didn't want to completely lose the procrastination skills I had spent years honing, so I decided to blow off cleaning my bathroom.)

As usual, the girls had presented their laundry baskets late and in sloppy condition. Instead of getting better at preparing their dirty laundry, they now seem to take for granted that Nana will unknot their clothes and turn them right-side-out. 

And I did.

I've been suffering symptoms that lead me to believe my blood pressure is much higher than is safe, so I'm trying to pick my battles. This wasn't going to be one of them. It was too early in the day.

So I calmly reminded them that I expected them to do better next week or I would not wash their clothes, nor would I allow them to do their own laundry unless they paid for the use of excess water and electricity. (This was because I knew they wouldn't wash full loads, but would instead wash only what they wanted that day. I've lived long enough to know how most kids operate.)

The Princess decided to apprise me of The Law. "I'm pretty sure that isn't legal", she informed me. "You can't make us wear dirty clothes". She's 17, knows everything, and feels it's her job to share her vast wealth of knowledge with her grandpa and me.

I kept calm and carried on.

Later, inspiration struck. Instead of neatly folding her clean clothes as I always do, I haphazardly tossed them into her laundry basket. They were clean, and I'm pretty sure that's the extent of my legal obligation.

In the evening she returned home from picking up her boyfriend for a visit, and seeing her laundry basket heaped with rumpled clothes she asked if I was indeed not going to wash them. "They're clean", I said, "I just didn't fold them. I'm pretty sure that's legal". She wasn't amused.  Actually, she proceeded to act like a two-year-old. And I'm fresh off a visit with one, so I know exactly what a toddler meltdown looks like.

But it gets better.

It was now dinner time and I had just washed a sink full of dirty dishes that had appeared out of thin air, just like magic. My hands were still a little wet when I pulled out a baking sheet and started to set it on the stove. It slipped and dropped a few inches onto the edge of the glass cooktop. 


Yeah, I broke the stovetop.  And no, it isn't in my budget to buy a new one.

Through my tears (and some profanities) I reached into the refrigerator to get a few things. After all, the show must go on.

For the past few days, I've noticed the vegetable and fruit drawers had been making a grinding sound when I opened them. I figured now was the time to get at least one of my appliances in good working order, so I removed the first drawer completely and found the problem...

There was a giant sheet of ice covering the bottom of the refrigerator.

When it rains it pours. And then it freezes up.

I was feeling pretty despondent at that point. Then my phone rang.

The details of the call aren't important to the story, but suffice it to say I was facing a real potential tragedy. And it scared me straight. 

There is nothing material on this earth that matters in the grand scheme of things. God blesses us with people to love and, if we're really lucky, people who love us back. If we're fortunate enough to have them in our lives for many years, and they are healthy and safe and hopefully also happy, that's really the only thing that matters.

Thank you, God, for blessing me today.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Giraffe Birthday Card

I've whined enough lately.  God has been very good to me over the years and He continues to forgive me EVERY SINGLE DAY. (I'll need that today more than ever.) So back to crafting...

Well, actually this is a card I made a very long time ago.  But I haven't felt like making anything lately (it's hard to make stuff while throwing a pity party), so I dragged this out of my "archives".

It's definitely a little on the bright side, possibly bordering on painful-to-look-at. But for my sister, Teresa, the brighter the better.  She's in a persistent vegetative state, and I'm pretty sure the doctors told us early on that she was blind.  But I'm not convinced of that, so a bright, colorful card seemed like the way to go.

The giraffe was cut from the Cricut cartridge Paisley (Teresa loves giraffes).  The solid background was cut using a Spellbinders Nestabilities die.  

Overall, nothing to get excited about. Unless you consider that I actually made something. Yes, it was a year ago, but I did make something once upon a time.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Indentured Servitude

Yesterday was unbearable.

My younger granddaughter, Chatty Cathy, was talking about getting back on her normal sleep cycle now that school is back in session.  She compared her summer to my everyday life.  "Nana, I sleep all day because there's nothing to do.  Not to offend you, but that must be how you feel every day with no purpose in life and no reason to get out of bed."

Yep.  That sums it up.

Unless you consider what I am required to accomplish each day:  feeding the family.

My oldest granddaughter, The Princess, came home a short time later in a grumpy mood.  I asked about her day and got a grunt.  Okay, I won't ask.  She did muster the strength to ask me what we were having for dinner.  "You probably won't like the answer", I said.  "We're having Chef's Salad."

"Oh, goodie", she smarmed.  (I don't know if that qualifies as a word, but it's the only way to describe the way she spoke to me.)

"You can blame your grandfather", I replied.  "It was his idea".

"I'll just eat the eggs", was her solution.

"I had no plans to cook eggs", I said, "and even if I did, you can't just eat eggs".

Anyway, from there it devolved into an argument about how a salad can't be a Chef's salad without egg, how I don't care what her definition of a Chef's salad is, how I'm sick of hearing complaints EVERY SINGLE NIGHT from one person or another, and that the cook is the only person who never gets her preferences for dinner.  I think at some point I yelled in frustration, she made a comment that implied I was crazy for going off, I said something about how seemingly small things take a toll after 37 years of dealing with them, she chuckled at the crazy lady and made a hateful comment, and I went to find the wine.

Oh, and my daughter, who gave birth to these children, received a gift in my mail from Chatty Cathy's grandmother (as a reward for giving birth, I suppose, since my husband and I are doing everything else).  It isn't the first "token of appreciation" she's received at my house, either.  I guess things are sent here to stick it to me for having the gall to financially, physically, and emotionally support her precious granddaughter at the expense of my golden years and my mental health.

Just this past weekend, my husband and I took the family out to dinner to celebrate The Princess's birthday.  Chatty Cathy asked me to take a photo with her (nothing warms an old lady's heart like having her granddaughter want to take a photo with her, even when the old lady hates having her picture taken).  She then posted the picture on social media.  Probably before we even finished dinner, Granny had reposted the photo after cropping me out!!!

Take your own photos, lady.  Oh, I guess that's hard when you only ask to see your granddaughter twice a year.  Then whine on Facebook about how you miss her so much it hurts your heart, and allow others to comment without correction that it's a shame she isn't allowed to spend more time with her.  (I've written about this before.)

Long story even longer, I told my husband this morning that I needed to resign my position.  I simply can't take it any more.

"Too bad that's not an option", was all he could say.

It's official.  I'm an indentured servant.  And I'm not sure what I got out of the deal.  Unless you count insanity.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Insignificance (And Other Realities of Motherhood)

Today was The Princess's 17th birthday.  My husband and I worked hard over the past week or two trying to determine which gifts to buy, and I spent every spare moment when she wasn't around making a special birthday card for her. I also purchased needed supplies to make her birthday cake (until she notified me late last night that she had changed her mind and wanted something different). This evening we took her, her boyfriend, and her sister out to dinner, where we were met by her mother.  Afterwards, I came home and hung streamers  to make the house a little more festive (because she had indicated at dinner that that was important to her). Of course I had spent the rest of the day doing laundry for her and her sister, Chatty Cathy, washing their dirty dishes, and other mind-numbing tasks only a custodial parent or grand/parent can understand.

After the cake had been eaten and presents opened, she wanted to take a picture with the Polaroid film we had bought for her birthday. I heard her rounding up her boyfriend, sister and mother. "Nana!" She called out, "I need you!"  Naively thinking she wanted to include me in the photo, I headed in the direction she indicated.  "Here", she said, handling me the camera.  "Take this picture of us."  I sucked my disappointment and hurt down into the deep recesses of my Mom-soul where all the rest of my pain lives, and I took the picture. 

So my husband and I, her sole caregivers and financial providers, don't measure up enough to be included in the family photo. At least I wasn't alone.

A short time later, I looked up from my clean-up duties just in time to see her having a picture taken with my husband, arms around each other and with beaming smiles.

I was now completely alone in my insignificance. Gut-wrenching.

I've been called every unholy name in the book because I've been charged with the task of turning her from a childish, self-centered, impulsive teen into (hopefully) a responsible, thoughtful, mature young woman. Not an easy task under the best of circumstances, and not one that makes you especially popular with children who think they know everything and are convinced that you are just an old fool who can't possibly relate to a world which no longer includes dinosaurs.

A little while later she walked into the room where I was trying to relax with my husband, and pulled out the two photos. "Aren't these so cute??!!" she asked.  Looking at the photos that included all the members of our family except me, I replied "Yes, they're adorable!"

I can cry later.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Just Be Held

"You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held." - Casting Crowns, Just Be Held

Sometimes God sends me exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it.  Today was an especially troublesome day, and I tried my best to make it better.  But I couldn't.  And I forgot to ask for help in the one place I can always find it.

If, like me, you often feel you simply don't have the strength to keep going, I hope you'll find hope and comfort in this beautiful song.  Find your rest in the arms of the God who won't let go.  He's there for you.  Anytime. Anywhere. Always.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Happy 12th Birthday Card for a Girl

My granddaughter just turned 13.  No, that isn't a typo, and I didn't make a mistake on the card.  This was her birthday card last year.  Yes, I'm a year late in sharing.  But I was desperately looking for something to post other than another sad story about life, disappointment and depression.  And I found this...something I actually made with  my own two hands.

The girl is from the Cricut cartridge Paper Dolls Teen Scene.  This is one of those cartridges I knew I had to have but rarely find an excuse to use. Looking at the card now, I think I subconsciously dressed the girl very much like I would have dressed at the same age, circa 1970.  Nostalgia.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Life is Exhausting

I'm praying for God to do some serious work on me right now.  The devil has been working overtime.
I'm ashamed to admit I've let my frustrations show where my grand/daughters are concerned.  I do think they need to learn that their actions aren't without consequences and that there are responsibilities in life.  But some days my irritation shows before they've even fully entered a room.

In my defense, they are dirty little creatures, and fully capable of cleaning up after themselves.  But they don't.  And I'm overwhelmed.

Raising kids without abundant financial resources is exhausting.  Trying to prepare a large home for future downsizing after 25 years is exhausting.  Doing laundry and cleaning for two teenage girls is exhausting.  Dealing with teenage drama is exhausting.  Having teenage girls argue against everything you say is exhausting.

Getting out of bed...exhausting.

But God gave me a task, so He must have thought I could do it.  With lots of help from Him, I'm trying my hardest.

So many outside forces are taking away my joy.  If I could lock myself inside my crumbling home and never face the selfishness, judgment, and anger of others, I think I could breeze right through. But I can't. Life just doesn't work that way.  So with a lot of prayer, I'm trying my best to cope. Knowing God is in control is sometimes all that keeps me going.

Even in the midst of days that seem to consume my very being, I thank God for loving me, a flawed woman who wakes up every day begging for forgiveness and a fresh start.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Airplane Themed Travel Card

My oldest granddaughter was going on her first international mission trip with the youth group from our church, so I thought the least I could do was make a card to let her know I would be thinking of her and praying that she would have a wonderful experience.  

The airplane was cut from the Cricut cartridge Pack Your Bags.  I also used travel-themed background paper and a sentiment I found in my ever-growing collection of papercrafting items.

I'm beginning to accept that God didn't place me here to do great things.  But as I watch my granddaughters grow into loving, caring Christian women, I'm pretty sure I know why I'm here.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

View From the End of My Rope

I thought I could do it.  I thought, with much help from God, I could survive the remaining 9+ years.

I'm pretty sure I can't.

The hardest part is having no one to talk to.  If I try to talk to my husband, we usually end up in a screaming match.  On the rare occasions I find myself having a conversation with anyone else, I don't really feel I can just blurt out, "Help me...I"m drowning!!!" And no one ever seems to notice.

Life is hard.

We've spent the past 16 years raising our granddaughters because their parents have other things they'd rather do.  My husband and I, instead of relishing each other's company during our tarnished golden-years, are constantly fighting about how best to do this.  We've walked through hell together and come out on the other side with very different opinions of how to avoid another visit.

We now approach life in much different ways:  He ignores subtle signs of potential trouble, adopting a "wait and see" attitude, while I watch with hypervigilence to spot anything suspicious so I can stop the problem in its tracks.  Maybe we're both wrong.  Maybe there's a perfect plan somewhere in the middle.

I'm at the end of my rope.  I'm still hanging on, but it seems to be slipping from my grasp.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Nautical-Themed Masculine Birthday Card

I'm always desperately searching for masculine card ideas.  I saw a cute nautical-themed card on Pinterest and decided to make my own version for my husband's birthday card.

I cut the ship's wheel and anchor using the Cricut cartridge Splish Splash.  Map-print paper was used as the base for this card and I added a strip of corrugated paper to "anchor" the nautical embellishments.  I cut a banner shape from thin cork, then attached the ship's wheel using a silver brad.  The anchor was attached to the corrugated strip with jute rope.   I used a Spellbinders Nestabilities die set to cut the rectangles for the sentiment. 

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Teenagers (Need I Say More?)

Life just doesn't seem to get any easier.

I don't really need to go into specifics.  If you have children you know what I mean.  And if you say your teenagers never give you trouble, you're either lying to me or lying to yourself.

I'm not talking about big problems, like drugs or criminal behavior.  I just mean that every kid ever born will refuse to do something they're supposed to do, or they'll try to get away with something they know they shouldn't do.  It's just the nature of the beast.  And have you ever met a teenager who didn't think they were smarter than the idiots who are raising them?

For 25 years I've been raising one teenager or another.  I've heard it all.  The excuses.  The half-truths.  The outright lies.  The blame.

Oh, dear God, the blame.

Today I was trying to address an issue with my 16-year-old granddaughter.  I thought I'd try something a little different since my attempts to hand down "consequences" weren't working.  I decided to ask her what she thought her punishment should be, not because I had any intention of allowing her to dictate the consequences of her own wrong behavior but rather to make her feel like she's part of the process.  I would still be the final authority, but I figured maybe if she felt "heard" by me she would be a little more compliant.

How wrong I was.

It began with her saying she didn't think she should be punished at all.  Then she started with the excuses.  I tried to calmly explain why I felt the excuses weren't really reasons, and why she needed consequences to prevent this behavior from recurring repeatedly.  Pretty soon we were both raising our voices.  Then I was yelling.

Then it was all my fault.

I punish her for everything.  I yell all the time.  My life sucks.  (That one is true.)  I don't praise her when she does something right.  I don't listen to her.  And it went on from there.

I've been hearing about my lack of praise and my constant criticism for years. Nothing anyone does is ever good enough for me, the Queen of High Standards.  I can't prove otherwise because I don't have decades of voice recordings backing me up.  Besides, it all comes down to perception anyway.
I'm not perfect.  I wish I'd had a higher sense of self-worth so that I could have raised children with endless amounts of confidence and self-esteem.  I regret any time I ever said anything that hurt my children.  But I'm human.  I came into this job with lots of baggage and my own hurt feelings.  I'm tired.  I'm stressed.  I'm old.  I've been doing this job for a very long time. And I could use a break.

But I won't get one.  Not until the younger granddaughter becomes an adult nearly a decade from now.

If I live that long.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Graduation Pop-Up Card

This was my first attempt at a pop-up card.  I could pretend all went well and turned out exactly as I had planned, but it didn't and I won't.

When Cricut released the cartridge Everyday Pop-Up Cards a few years ago, I told myself I had enough images from which to choose.  Another untruth.  One can never have enough cartridges.  Ask me how I know.  Ask me about the retired cartridges that are no longer available, and how suddenly I have grandchildren who adore those licensed characters.

Oh, well.  Life would be boring if it were perfect.

Eventually I found this cartridge at a great price and decided the cute images would come in handy sooner or later (even if I never made an actual pop-up card).

But then I needed to make a graduation card and I had a little extra time to get it done, so I decided to jazz up my card with some pop-up action inside.  It looked easy enough.

It wasn't. 

My first try ended badly even though I was following the instructions provided by Cricut.  (I could only find one example of a phrase pop-up at the end of the PDF file, so we'll use that as my excuse for why I found it so difficult to piece this particular one together.)  Was mine assembled correctly? Who knows?  But I could find no evidence to the contrary and that's good enough for me.

Have you ever made a pop-up card?  If so, did you find it difficult or did it make perfect sense to you at first glance?

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Graphic 45 Botanical Tea Shaker Card

I've been hoarding Graphic 45 paper for quite a while.  It's been so intimidating to think of cutting into all that loveliness, and I was beginning to think it would never happen.

And then it did.

I wanted to make a card for someone who needed uplifting.  And simultaneously Graphic 45 was having a contest.  So I took a deep breath and the plunge and created a shaker card inspired by one that had been created by a Graphic 45 design team member, Lori Williams.

I chose paper from the Botanical Tea 12x12 paper stack.  I cut a frame for the shaker window using a Martha Stewart Punch-around-the page set, and glued some fussy-cut flowers and a bird around the edges.  The shaker was filled with some beads and coarse glitter from another of my hoards.  The edges were inked with a Tim Holtz Distress Ink pad.

I wish I could tell you which punch or ink pad I used, but I simply don't remember.  Keeping up with those kinds of details requires a more organized person, or at least someone who promptly posts her projects while the details are still in her memory (and I'm neither of those).

Do you find yourself hoarding pretty paper (or other craft supplies)?  Are you afraid you'll find the perfect project for it...five minutes after you've used it for something else?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Read at Your Own Risk

No craft sharing today.  Read ahead at your own risk.

I finally fell asleep at 6 a.m. this morning, not because I was out partying and having a fabulous time all night, but because my mind won't rest.  So the day never even had a chance to become something good.

Oh, and in the "wee" hours of the morning (pun intended), when I inevitably had to get up to pee, I had to replace the toilet paper.  Yes, a big old cardboard tube was mocking me at 4 a.m.

It's laundry day.  Every Saturday is laundry day.  Every Friday I remind the family that I need their laundry in the hallway before they go to bed.  Do you think that happens?  Have you read my blog?

Today was no different.  Not only did I have to beg for the opportunity to wash clothes, but as usual there was no prep work done before the full contents of the girls' floors was scooped into laundry baskets, candy wrappers, shoes and all.  Why would I ever expect clothes to be turned right-side-out, with undergarments disengaged from the clothes that previously covered them?

Before you advise me to refuse to wash anything that isn't laundry-ready, let me stop you right there. I've tried that.  They will either wear their clothes dirty (risking a visit from Child Protective Services), or when my back is turned they'll wash one or two items, wasting water and electricity that is already hard enough to pay for.

Excuses, excuses.  Maybe I'm just too old and tired to try teaching old dogs new tricks.

Speaking of dogs, our oldest granddog has become incontinent.  Within hours of our arrival for a rare visit with our youngest grandchildren (who live seven hours away), our dog walker called to say the dog appeared to have suffered an injury and was dragging his back legs, unable to walk without assistance.  He had also done his business in our house.  (The stories I could tell--and probably someday will-- about what happens when we try to get away for a few days...)

Anyway, the dog suffered a ruptured disc, and is on the mend.  But he either hasn't regained his ability to control his bladder or he no longer cares (a sentiment I'm quickly beginning to understand). Now my house is not only dusty and falling apart, but it reeks of urine mixed with cleaning products.

Then there's the younger granddog who is responsible for the blood spatter all over the walls.  I don't often notice it because I don't typically wear my glasses when I walk through the house; therefore, it blends in with the other dirt and grime.  And I like it that way. Ignorance really is bliss sometimes. I just pray my house isn't raided someday by law enforcement; they will rip the sheetrock off the 2x4s for lab analysis, certain a deadly crime has been committed here.  And yes, we try to clean it up as best we can, and we've tried to eliminate the health issues the poor dog has in an attempt to prevent her from scratching and shaking, but we also have lots of other things to take care of.  There are only so many hours in a day...and it obviously isn't enough.

After starting the laundry today (and drying the tears from my face after yet another frustrating morning), I was famished and realized I couldn't go on without a little fuel.  I went to find whatever leftovers I could in the fridge and turned on the oven to reheat them.  It didn't take long to notice a HUGE pile of shredded cheese on the oven floor, which extended into an even larger HUGE pile trapped between the door and frame.  I reached for a paper towel, but the roll was empty!!!  (Why was I not surprised?) Without enough energy to make another trip down and back up the basement stairs to get a new roll, I improvised with the empty cardboard tube.  (This was one cardboard tube that wasn't going to get the best of me.)  I slid the flattened tube across the oven floor and into the door opening, trying to remove as much cheese as possible.  (I knew if I waited until someone baked something it was really going to be a job to clean it up.) And since this is a wall oven, every attempt I made to scrape the cheese out ended with cheese being shoved behind the oven and into the wood cabinet, which can only be reached by removing the oven from the wall.

That's one project too many.

I still need to pull up my tiled kitchen floor to remove the dishwasher (the one I've already repaired twice) so that I can try to diagnose and repair its most recent malfunction.  And my other oven, part of my range, hasn't worked correctly in over a year and is still waiting for me to disassemble it to make a repair while crossing my fingers that's even the problem.

(And that's just the kitchen.)

Now the tears were really flowing.

Nope, no time for that.  I have at least eight loads of laundry still to do.  I haven't showered.  And there's a box of wine with my name on it.  (Yes, I've officially changed my name to "Franzia".)

Friday, April 10, 2015

How to Make a Difference

Alone.  Insignificant.  Misunderstood.

I think we've all felt this way once or twice (or every day) in our lives.  It's easy to feel invisible or forgotten.  Even if we know God's love, sometimes we still need to feel loved by those around us.

I hope you'll take a moment to listen to this beautiful song from Sidewalk Prophets. You never know what a difference even a small gesture can make in someone's life.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thinking of you card

I made this card for my sister, Teresa, to remind her I haven't forgotten her.  I decided to take a crack at "fussy cutting" some elements from a K & Company paper pack, Life's Journey.  I also cut a giraffe from Tim Holtz grungepaper using the Cricut cartridge Martha Stewart Birthday Cake Art  (Teresa's cards always need a giraffe).  I used my Tim Holtz texture hammer in an attempt to add a little dimension to the giraffe, but unfortunately it didn't end well.  (Sorry, little giraffe.  I must have been having a really bad day.)  

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Real Reason for Menopause

There is a reason women have a limited number of childbearing years.  Raising children is exhausting. And when circumstances make it necessary for us to raise children beyond that timeframe, even with years of experience that hopefully taught us a thing or two, it can get ugly.

(In contrast, men can procreate throughout their lives.  Kind of tells you who's doing all the heavy lifting.)

Motherhood isn't for the faint-of-heart.  It's brutal, stressful work.  The pay isn't great.  Yes, there are rewards, but there are also struggles.  Lots and lots of struggles.  Eventually, the heartwarming moments will be those you remember most.  But I'm not there yet.  I think you have to actually get to the empty-nest years to experience that.

I'll say it again:  There's a reason women lose the ability to bear children at mid-life.  We. Are. Tired.

I'm pretty sure children spend most of their time honing their skills at pushing our buttons.  And by "our", I mean mothers (and sometimes grand/mothers*).  They spot our weaknesses (which usually stem from our desire to mold them into happy, successful adults) and zero in on how they can best take advantage.

If I hear one more, "I know!  I know!", in response to my "gentle" nudging that one child or the other needs to do one thing or another, I'll scream.  Because I know that if I don't "lovingly" remind them to do what should be obvious, I'll hear the inevitable, "I didn't know!"

I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.  And I'm post-menopausal.  Need I say more?

*Reminder:  grand/mother refers to a grandmother serving in the capacity of a mother.

Thank You Card

Sometimes in life, usually when I'm completely overwhelmed and desperately needing nothing more than a chance to catch my breath, God steps in with an unexpected blessing.  Usually it's something small.  And that's okay.  It's still a reminder that God loves me and knows my struggles.  But once in a while it's something fun that really brightens my day.  It's as if God is saying, "I can't make the changes you think you need in your life; they aren't in My plan.  Until then, enjoy this and know I love you and want to see you smile."

Last September, in a moment when I really needed some encouragement, I received an email that I had won a contest.  Honestly, at first I thought it was a scam, and it took quite a while for me to find the company and the contest to see if I had even entered it.  (More than five minutes had passed, so of course I couldn't remember.)

Much to my surprise I had won a Cricut Explore!  Mind you, when this new machine was released in February I wouldn't even entertain the idea of buying one since there was no way I could fit it into our budget.  So I lived vicariously through those who were fortunate to actually own one, telling myself I could live without it for a long, long time.   But now I don't have to!

I decided the best way to jump in and learn to use the Explore was to make a card to thank the company, Creativebug, for their generous prize.  I found this image on the Cricut cartridge Paper Lace, and of course I wanted to keep the card simple and within my abilities since it was, after all, going to a company called Creativebug!  Sending a card to some real crafting experts didn't seem to be the appropriate time to try new and challenging techniques.  But my mama taught me to be thankful, so I cut this simple, but pretty image and added a strip of washi tape and some twine across the lower edge of the card.

Do you enter contests?  What are some prizes you've won?  I would love to hear about it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Serving a Life Sentence

Today my husband and I should be celebrating our 32nd anniversary.  We've been planning a nice dinner out, just the two of us, for a few weeks now.  This doesn't seem like too much to ask once a year.  But evidently it is.

From the time the youngest grand/daughter arrived home from school, I've heard the never-ending saga of how she's ostracized because I won't buy her a cellphone (gotta give her props for the creative stories she tells), how she doesn't have any cute clothes like all the other kids (she has clothes, just not the ridiculous amount of name brand, overpriced things some of her friends have), and just a few minutes ago, she came to tell me she likes the denim jacket I found for her to wear with one of her dresses, but it's of no use because she doesn't have the right shoes.


The oldest grand/daughter started in on me before I even realized she was home from school.  I guess she was on the phone with her biological dad and he's been moved to a prison within an hour of our house (oh, wonderful) and she wanted to know if I'd take her to see him.  Yes, that's how I want to spend my spare a prison visiting room.  Sorry, I didn't commit the crime and I shouldn't have to do the time.  And could somebody leave me alone for five minutes so I can get ready for dinner out with my husband?????!!!!!

As it got closer to dinner time, I tried to get both girls to tell me what they planned to do for dinner.  I wanted to make sure they were going to eat something with an ounce of nutritional value and not look at this as a free-for-all snack binge.  I couldn't get the oldest one to tell me anything.  Actually, as of last night she had plans to go to her Bible study group tonight where the leader usually serves dinner, but by today she had decided not to go.  (This left me suspicious in light of the fact she knew my husband and I wouldn't be home, so my already-frayed nerves were sent into high alert.)  Finally, even though I had already showered, spackled my face, smoothed the frizz out of my hair, and put on nicer clothes than my usual jeans and sweatshirt, I decided the best thing to do was stand over a hot stove and cook a semi-healthy dinner for the kids.  Heaven forbid they should have to eat leftovers or a sandwich (which just happens to be what I eat for lunch every day).

To be honest, I really don't blame either of my grand/daughters. They're good kids, but they are kids, and they want what other kids have.  As a matter of fact, I often feel guilty because they deserve better than what this tired old lady has to give.  I've been raising children for nearly forty years and I just need a break.  But there's no light at the end of the tunnel for me. Realistically, my husband and I have another decade of supporting these girls, both financially and emotionally, before we can even dream of time to rest and be together.

Dinner out tonight isn't going to happen.  Somewhere between listening to one complaint or another, I simply lost my appetite.  I'm sure the biological parents of these children are going about their day doing whatever they want, or at least whatever they can with the lives they've chosen for themselves, without giving a care in the world to the needs of these precious girls.  Because of their irresponsible actions I feel like I've been given a life sentence for a crime I didn't commit.

And there's no justice in that.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Things are the Same Wherever I Go

In my home there are four people and three bathrooms.  It doesn't matter what time of day, what day of the week, or which bathroom I use...I think every time I go I have to replace the toilet paper roll. Sometimes it's obvious the last person intentionally left behind just a square or two.  You know, technically it wasn't empty.

Today I went to Michael's for a little retail therapy after my dental appointment.  First stop--the bathroom (I'd been at the dentist's for a while).  I sat my naked behind down and immediately checked the paper situation (too many past regrets).  Whoops.  No paper.

I immediately started to re-dress myself and move to another stall when I spotted the giant toilet paper roll propped on the back of the toilet.  I sat back down, reached for the giant roll, then noticed the paper holder on the wall didn't have a locking door.  (You know society has reached an all-time low when every public place has to lock up the scratchy one-ply toilet paper.)   I put the giant roll onto the dispenser and faced the hard, cold truth.

No matter where I go, there's a good chance I'll be refilling the toilet paper.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Giraffe Card

I wanted to make a card for my sister, Teresa, just to say, "I love you".  I've written several times before about how she loved giraffes, and how she has been in a vegetative state for almost 15 years now.  I can't visit her very often since we live hundreds of miles apart, so I like to send cards once in a while to let her know how much she means to me.  My other sisters, who live in our hometown and visit her regularly, are kind enough to deliver my cards and read them to her.  (They are my heroes for all they do for Teresa, even though they have families and other responsibilities that keep them plenty busy.)

The giraffe was cut from the Cricut cartridge Wall Decor and More.  The background was embossed with the Darice embossing folder Corner Scroll.   I finished with a stamped sentiment (and some really bad photography).

Thanks so much for visiting!