Monday, July 10, 2017

Beach-Themed Card

I complain a lot about how difficult life can be. But I know two things: 1) I've been incredibly blessed...not because I deserve it but because of God's mercy and grace; and 2) other people have problems, too, and as a Christian I should strive to be like Jesus and show kindness to them.

I have no problem with the first thing on my list. I'll take God's grace anytime, anywhere (and I'm still standing only because of His mercy). But the second one is a struggle. I spend far too much time immersed in self-pity to be much like Jesus (but I hope I never stop trying).

Long story short, I wanted to show love to someone very special by sending an unexpected card.

The recipient loves the beach (as do I, and probably you, too), so the theme was an easy one. I cut the beach chair, flip flops, palm tree and umbrella on my Cricut Explore from the Life is a Beach cartridge, and the clouds were cut from the Sanrio-Hello Kitty Greetings cartridge. I tore pieces of cardstock to create the sand and water, then added some glitter to the blue cardstock to mimic ocean waves (not perfect, but once glitter is glued to paper it isn't easy to tweak if you aren't happy with the effect!) And on that note, I could have stamped the sentiment directly on the sky, but after my regrets about the glitter waves, I thought it would be prudent to stamp separately on vellum...just in case.

Thanks for visiting! 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


It has just all become a bit too much. Can I catch my breath? Please? Does it really have to be one pile on top of another on top of another on top of another...???

And the worst part is nobody understands...or seems to try.  No matter how I try to explain exactly why I can't keep going like this, it just becomes another "rant" by the crazy old lady.

Forty years. On top of the first 19, which weren't exactly a walk in a suburban park.

What other job requires their workers to give heart, mind and soul for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year...for forty years??? No vacation, no days off, no pay. And retirement.

My pastor, who I'm sure works very hard and is under great pressure, enjoys many spiritual retreats throughout the year. He also has several associate pastors along with a bevy of other church employees who take some of the burden off him. He even took a sabbatical a couple of years ago where he traveled extensively for a few months. I don't begrudge him one moment of it because too much responsibility for too long is too much.

I haven't had a single day off in forty years. Oh sure, my husband and I have taken a few short trips...very few...over many, many years, but there were inevitably problems at home that found their way to us before the "vacation" was over. I've even come home to a few "burglaries" and assorted other fiascoes.

Every time I think God will get me through this and I can build up strength before the next pile heads my way, I find myself suffocating under the weight of something new.

I hate feeling this way. I love my family. I wish I had boundless energy...physical, emotional and spiritual. But my batteries never get recharged. I'm literally running on empty.

Where do I go from here? Where does one go when the pressure mounts but there is no release? Why can't those around look at their own contributions to the unbearable stress and be helpful for a change, or at least not judge? Why am I expected to be Supermom, but treated as if I'm worthless and have no right to live some aspect of my life as I choose?

Where the hell is common sense, kindness and personal accountability? Yeah, I need a break. And I fear the only one I'll get will come in the form of a breakdown.

At least when that day comes they'll have to find another place to put their pile.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Graduation Box Card

***Apologies upfront for the poor lighting. I'm still working on my papercrafting skills; once I've mastered those I'll work on my photography. You might want to take a seat while you wait.***

This graduation box card was made for a special girl using my Cricut Explore. (I did hand cut the box base using a template I found on the internet.)

The beauty of using the Cricut Explore machine along with the Design Space software is that I can easily search for the perfect images and utilize several cartridges with ease (which I did with this card). Here's the list of images and phrases I used:

Girl graduate - Paper Dolls Teen Scene
Owl - Recess
Graduation cap - Recess
Diploma - Recess
Congratulations - Lyrical Letters
Way to Go! - 3 Birds on Parade
You Did It! - Cake Basics
2016 - ? (Sorry, I added that last minute and didn't save the info, nor did my aging brain retain it for an entire year)

The other details I added were googly eyes for the owl, a tassel braided from thread and attached to the cap with a brad, and a few thin wires I coiled and added as festive filler.

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

First-World Problems

Today I feel beaten down. I would say it has been a day filled with problems, but the truth is they are simply "first-world" problems. Nothing earth-shattering. It's just that there were a whole bunch of them. Before noon.

My life isn't so bad. It isn't what I wanted it to be and it isn't what I worked hard to achieve. But overall, I'm pretty blessed. That doesn't mean, however, that I can't feel like a lump of coal being pressured into becoming a diamond.  (I don't have a brilliant scientific mind, but I'm pretty sure that takes a long time and a lot of pressure.)

If you are feeling stressed, whether by first-world problems or by tragic circumstances, I hope this video will remind you that you aren't alone. Whether you are experiencing everyday problems or something more profound, remember that God wants to walk alongside you every step of the way. And when necessary, He will pick you up and carry you to where He wants you to be.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Keep Moving

What do you do when you've reached your limit and just don't know how to keep going? (Yes, again.)

I've been raising children non-stop since I was 19. I'll be 60 next year.

I'll let you think about that for a moment...

Just when I thought the grand/children were starting to spread their wings and fly, the older one did a u-turn and moved back in. It doesn't appear I'll ever get a break.

So, what do you do when you feel you can't go on? I've tried crying. And screaming. And fantasizing about a carefree life far, far away (usually on a beach and alone). But none of that helped one bit.

All I can do is look toward Heaven, and pray, pray, pray... then pray some more. After all, that's what brought me this far. And I trust that God will help me move to wherever He wants me to go from here.

Judging from the past four decades, He will probably just send me to bed for some rest and refreshment so I can get up tomorrow and do it all again.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Time Marches On...Dreams Stay Behind

I can't believe it took me this long to figure it out.

I see other women my age (post-menopausal) who seem to accept who they are...more or less. Yes, they might try to "turn back the hands of time", but they seem to know who--and how old--they are. On the other hand, I've been struggling for years to reconcile the old woman I encounter in the mirror with the 45 year old lady I expect to see.

And now I know why.

Before I reached my 30th birthday, I thought I had my life-plan in place. My youngest child would finish college while I was still in my mid-forties, and there would most likely be many good, healthy years ahead for my husband and me to enjoy life as a couple. But before that day came we found ourselves with one grandchild to care for...and then another. And shortly thereafter it became necessary for us to become their legal guardians. Eventually it became apparent that this was no longer a temporary arrangement and we would remain parents until these two precious children were grown.


I love my grand/daughters dearly, I truly do, and for their sake I was happy to spend the past 18 years caring for them. But now I'm old, tired, and falling apart. And last week, just a few months after I allowed myself to once again entertain ideas of a carefree future, my dreams were...once again...shattered.

I thought we had the oldest grand/daughter on her way to adulthood. She seemed to have a plan and we thought she was on her way to achieving her goals, but then she dropped the bombshell that she wanted a do-over. Not only did she drop out of college (after we had paid for the entire year), but now she wanted to take a year off to figure things out.

When, oh when, will it be my turn? I have it figured out...if only everybody else would do what they're supposed to be doing!

And it isn't just the death of my dreams that has me upset. The stress of endlessly raising children--and not always agreeing on the best way to do that--is taking a toll on my marriage. My husband and I celebrated our anniversary yesterday, but by today there wasn't much to celebrate. I still love him and I think he still loves me, but I don't know how many more stress-fueled arguments we can endure while trying to deal with the seemingly-endless task of raising children into responsible adults.

Anyway, back to the old lady in the mirror. The much-younger lady inside put her life on hold at 45, and subconsciously must have expected to come back eventually and find things just the way she had left them.  But it doesn't work that way. My life stopped...but the clock didn't. And I'm not especially happy about it all. Not because I can't handle a little adversity or hard work, but because I have a difficult time dealing with the impact on my life from the immature, irresponsible, selfish choices of others.

Today was excruciatingly difficult. Tomorrow is looking like it might be worse. But I'll try to start fresh anyway, and pray that if it can't be better I'll at least make it through. God has brought me this far, and I have faith He'll carry me on from here. He might have to. I'm not getting any younger.

Just trying to finish the race.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

34 Years

Today my husband and I celebrated 34 years of marriage. There have been steep hills and deep valleys--and not much in between--but I wouldn't want to have climbed over and out with any other human companion.  And thankfully, God has been with both of us every step of the way.

It hasn't always been easy, but I've always been richly blessed.

For more about how I make it through each day, please visit my blog Blessings Before Breakfast.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Ten years ago today my mother passed away.

To say it happened suddenly isn't entirely true. Yes, the event that led to her death was completely unexpected, but she didn't succumb until 15 days later. And I held out hope until the very end. After all, she was small but mighty and I never thought I would ever have to say goodbye.

I've suffered through other losses in my life, and each one hurt in its own unique way. But it was at the time of my mother's death that I really felt the distance between this life and the next. At that moment, even though I wholeheartedly believed in the afterlife, I was confronted with the fact that my mother was gone from this earth and enjoying the splendor of Heaven...and I couldn't quite grasp that concept. All of a sudden it was as if I was Here and she was There and I needed to find the string that would connect us again.

I had never felt so alone.

What is it about our mothers that is so very special? My mother wasn't perfect (although she was in many ways a saint) but she was the only mother I ever needed or wanted. Her death left a hole in my heart that no other human can fill. I'm sure my siblings would probably say the same thing.

There have been so many times in the past decade when I thought I couldn't possibly go on. Those were the times I needed my mother the most. I needed to have her on my side when my husband and I argued about how best to raise our grand/daughters. I longed to hear her tell me one more time that I am a good mother in spite of what the children say. And maybe because I knew I no longer could, I desperately wanted to tell her how much she meant to me. How much she meant to us all. How dearly we loved her and appreciated everything she did for everybody she knew.

So in my prayers tonight, after I thank God for the many wonderful things He's already done for me, I'll ask Him to please tell my mother that I love her and miss her with all my heart. And then I'll thank God again for blessing me with the imperfect mother He knew would be perfect for me.