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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hurricanes of Life!

Above mess caused by a hole in the roof and ceiling (see picture below).

Day 1 apres Hurricane Ike

I like change.  I really do.  LOVE construction, rearranging furniture (often).  I really should have gone into design work because it floats my boat.  As the illustrious Stephen Drucker (ex-editor of House Beautiful) said:  "I can't help myself."  However, IKE rather forced us to redo.
 So that was 2.5 years ago:  big, BAD storm!

2006 - 2008
We may have been living with "builder's beige and cruddy carpet" BUT...

this was a calm season in life...lovely memories.)

September 13, 2008
 #2 (Stormy) Son and I enjoying a stunning sunset.  9 days without electricity!

And so we had a mess after the hurricane and "got" to recarpet and paint.  Our home ended up prettier, thanks to Ike! I'd call it a silver lining.

We turned to Sherwin Williams Restrained Gold and wiped out that "builder's beige."  Also bit the bullet for an upgraded with a cream trellis.  I {{{LOVED}}} it. 

If we didn't have enough going on, we adopted Duke.  He was rescued from the storm down in Galveston that was really slammed by Ike. 

Our first at first sight.

We were in the middle of the remodel and BEFORE that good carpet was laid, my boy Duke, ummmm.....ruined the (entire) dining room carpet.  If you catch my drift.  A storm within a storm.  A traumatized dog adjusting to a new home going through a mess of construction.  L-O-V-E-L-Y.

We actually got through the redo quickly and without (a lot) of pain.  Thank goodness for St. Steve who had an "in" with the contractors.  That guy, Steve! 

Two and a half years later, we are ripping OUT the carpet downstairs. I told you I like change.  My dogs (note:  'my.'  My Guy doesn't claim them at times) have ruined it!  Stains yes...but also their claws tore the carpet up, literally.   Thanks to a baby gate, Duke & Stella are not allowed up stairs; so pretty carpet remains there.

And today:

A mess. 

A BIG mess.  We're even ripping out the hardwood in the foyer.  The 18" square tile that's in our kitchen is being laid as I speak.  This particular tile would not be my first choice had we built the home.  BUT already I can tell it's what we need.  No more patchwork (i.e., hardwood, carpet, tile).  One smooth floor...a constant throughout.  Plus - it's dog friendly!

In the middle of this mess; a BIGGER mess interrupted.  Yes, it has to do with (Stormy) #2 Son.  I'm just glad I get to rearrange my home over the long weekend.  It'll take my mind off a storm brewing...too close to heart and home.

I hope that your life is calm,
 no storms on the horizons.

Or if you need a distraction; just rearrange some furniture!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pick a Poppy!

There's a GREAT give-away at Short Southern Momma and it involves something in the picture above!  If you haven't visited Emersonmade, go.  You will then HAVE to pick a flower.  :)

Pinning my red poppy on ANYTHING brings a smile to my face and most always gets a comment.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Path are You Taking?

The path of least resistance.  That's all I knew...until "googling" to find out more.  Per H.G. Wells:  "The path of least resistance is the path of the loser."  I certainly don't want to be one of those!  And that path would have consisted of wallowing in a pity party.

One of my go-to books is "Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers.  Mr. Chambers often nails me it! 

We have to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and shake ourselves, and we will find that we can do what we said
we could not. The curse with most of us is that we won’t. The Christian life is one of incarnate spiritual pluck.

I've mentioned before how helpful it's been for me to praise even at times when it's nearly impossible.  Strong Christian friends, friends of The Most Positive Aura spout "eyes up" - rewallpaper your mind, ya da ya da ya da.

Well, Mr. Chambers is telling me the very same.  I took heed this morning and got outside, which got ME outside myself.  No pity party today!

It's really crazy how singing loudly, reading an uplifting page or two, a bit of exercise transforms me.  What is the Rx for your soul?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why Indeed?

A week ago my heart & soul were ripped open once again.  I buried myself under the covers and let it out.  And had to ask "W-H-Y"? 
On a good day if you were to meet #2 Son, you might think him handsome and somewhat charming.  He certainly can be.  But underneath that almost-20-year-old skin bubbles pain, such pain.  And he finds it frustrating.  This life of his. 

If he'd own his diagnosis, take meds, seek counseling he'd be able to cope.  Instead he barrels through his day making unwise choices. 

It's sad to think about my baby...out on the streets, sleeping in some dude's car.  My imagination takes me to dark places sometimes; and I have to force myself to stop.  And pray.  All I can do is pray for him.  For years, I've prayed a radical prayer for both sons:  "Lord, do whatever it takes to get them on their knees."  Well the WHATEVER is pretty scary.  It seems clear to me.  Stop doing what you're doing.  Get a plan. 

And then I recall it's been this way for years.  It's not that he's JUST a rebellious teen, or JUST a party animal, or JUST a boy with tons of anger, or JUST a guy with learning disabilities.  He is all of this.  And more.  He's tasted walking with God.  He's a sensitive soul.  He's hysterical.  He's loving.  That's my boy. 

I have certain pictures of #2 Son that I cling to.  I've seen him at his best.  My prayer is that he makes it back there - to his best.  

Yet I'm not alone (at all) in the heartache department.  Early morning, while sipping on my French roast I visit Denton Sanatorium. My heart nearly explodes. The blogging world connects hearts in the most amazing way. Please visit Jen, read her story and pray for her...and her beautiful family.)

And, Jen, I ask why? Why indeed?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Urban Market Recap

    My purchases:  an English coffee canister & 2 tiny books!

It was SUCH fun!!!!  Even if in the middle of a mud field-swamp-land!  It gave me an excuse to dress down: ha!  I mean really----the women who DRESSED must have lost their minds.  My friend and I saw a young lady exit her car in the cutest sundress with silver sandals.  BIG mistake.

This is how one should dress for Urban Market.  Not caring (at all) about making any Best Dressed List.  Most wore rubber boots: polka dot, floral, animal print, Wellies.  It was a wild-attire day.

The "flying saucer" on my head was a purchase to ward off the sun.  It was scorching hot.  Here we were.  In a field.  And shopowners had gor-jus vignettes wooing us into their tents.

After I cool off, I'm running outdoors to pick up sticks...then stick 'em in my glass of shells.  Cool, don't ya think?

On our way out, picked up lunch-to-go, "Best Pimiento Sandwich" in Houston.  I'd have to agree!  Mmm, mmm good.

It was a FUN day and most definitely will be an
annual outing.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day Dreaming...

    (Off with the candles, top with boxwoods...)

I'm chomping at the go to the local garden center to personalize my yard.  Don't know about you...but HERE in The Land of Subdivisions, homes look very much alike or at least like distant cousins.  I can't stand it.  Yet it's not in our budget to go off, buy acreage, build my dream home. 

Therefore, I feel the urge to do my "thang."  I've discovered THE most fabulous blog, Tara Dillard, that is chock full of info on gardening, landscaping, and how to make the most of what we've got!! I've been (stuck) lost in her blog all morning.  Her writing is delicious as well...better than any gardening book.  Other than hers, of course (and I'm on the search for a few of those!).  Thank goodness My Guy left the house for a bit; otherwise, he would've pulled the plug on me.

Saturdays usually bring some yard work; but it's drizzling back to daydreaming about what the future may hold.

Sweet Saturday to you all...


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Resources for Panicky Parents of Prodigals

This post is a serious post.  If you're not a parent of a prodigal, ADD, ADHD, Bipolar, mentally challenged, addiction-prone, angry, lost, young person, feel free to move on.  Perhaps my next post will be lighthearted...

In two days, two strangers called me.  They'd heard I might empathize.  And yes I can.  They are not the only Moms that I've been in touch with.  Some families try to cover up.  Not me - I'm an open book and believe God wants me to share in the peaks AND valleys!  It might be handy for some to see a list of resources that I know is reliable:

NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness - contact them for a local peer group.  For you OR your kid.  It covers the gamut:  Bipolar, Autism, Suicide, Schizophrenia, OCD, PTSD, Eating Disorders and more.

Cornerstone Recovery:  a unique teen-based, 12-step recovery program, based on positive peer pressure and a drug and alcohol free environment. (This is a Houston organization; but they will have recommendations for out of towners).

And just today, a friend emailed me a link for reading on prodigal sons.  Looks great - check it out!

Sundown Ranch:  a treatment facility designed to meet the needs of individuals suffering from chemical dependency and related co-occurring psychiatric disorders. (Yup, #2 Son was a resident here...for 45 days). 

Russell Kelfer's Website: his sermons/books are free & you can download many. In Everything Give Thanks pretty much changed my life!

And the #1 source of comfort, respite, peace is my faith.  God sees me through it all.  I tell everyone that without Him, I'd be in a loony bin, an alcoholic or on the side of the road - blubbering.  I kid you not.

...and there are a group of women - who have been together over 10 years almost every Tuesday night.  Have we shared!  Cried!  Laughed!  And prayed.  Moms need girlfriends.  And those that pray (without judgement) have to be THE BEST! 



Home Life = Priceless!

(Books="low", from estate sale, Bottles=priceless, were Mom's)

I love the high, low & priceless combo - in and around my home, my attire, jewelry - it's just about the mix for me!

Thought it'd be fun to see if you can spot the HLP items in these vignettes...

Low = bust from Tuesday Morning
Priceless = candlesticks of my Mother's, old books of my parents
(no "high" in this vignette)...

Priceless = vessel holding marbles (wedding gift from aunt...)
Priceless = Uncle Russ' marbles
Low = "crumber" from antique shop

Low = green pears
Priceless = the rest, i.e., Mason's Vista red & white (Mom's), silver collected from estate sales, fleas, old books that are gifts from friends!

Low & priceless = silver tray from an estate sale
Low = black urn for flowers (Tuesday Morning)
Priceless = every book in my home...

Low = "silver" compote from GOOD WILL for $2.00!!!!!
Priceless = sand dollars from a dear friend in North Carolina
Priceless = "JOY" stone from an angel in Cape Cod

I've just realized my favorite "stories" in my home do not have anything HIGH.  Not a lot of money is needed to make a vignette.  I have a lot of stuff aka clutter - but every, single item means something to me.  I (rarely) run out to buy something to fill a space.

Today is a good day...since I am home (alone) after a busy few days filled with company and activities.  I have to agree with Jane Austen here: 

"Ah!  there is nothing like
 staying home
 for real comfort."


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Got To Know Where To Look...

Not often; but yes sometimes....I find it hard to be joy-filled!  It's been a rough couple days regarding "that" son of mine.

My friend over at Views From My Kitchen Sink posted on what made HER I am following suit, with only 3 items.  Don't have 7 more at my fingertips.
  • A fresh head of auburn-ish hair
  • Groomed poodles
  • Anticipation of watching a DVR'd 24
Our home is quiet now and I'm ever so grateful.  As hard as it was yesterday, right now I have my eyes and heart lifted up.  And I DO know where to look!

Oh, one more thing!  A new song and artist.  LOVE this by Macy Gray!!!! 

Heya throw your hands up and hollaXOXO

Throw your hands up and holla

When you don’t know what to do

Don’t know if you’ll make it through

Remember God is giving you beauty in the world...


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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Revere While Here!

If only.  I know it's not healthy to dwell on those - the "if onlys" but it' s hard NOT to on Mother's Day.  I'm only 7 years younger than my Mom was when she died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
(a sidenote:  she and Jackie O were the same age, died of the same disease, the same year; 1994.)

And so while I've had plenty of time to mourn...I'm here to confess that WHILE she was alive; I did not treat her as I'd like to now.   I'd revere my mother. 

I didn't tell her what I loved about her.  Ever.  She wasn't prone to compliments in giving OR taking...and was hard to love.  My pride was bigger than my heart.  In the past year I've confessed, let go, asked for forgiveness of those living

Thankfully we have a houseful of (fun) company that will pull me out of "then" and bring me into "now."  For now is important.  And I've learned to speak my feelings.  Tell those I love HOW much I do.  Tell them they are creative, good cooks, artistic, organized, bright, handsome...and at times if I have to I'll dig deep to find that something special in them.

Everyone has something we can talk up and compliment.  I'd say do it before it's too late.

Happy Mother's Day to you Beautiful Moms!!!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Mom in Me!

A dear bloggy friend, Jen, has issued women quite the challenge.  What is one weakness you have when it comes to mothering (only one)? And now that you've identified it, how are you going to improve?  My "mothering" days are pretty much fini; but it's easy to nail a weakness and thankfully Jen is only asking for ONE!  So I'd have to say it was the fact that I was not consistent.  Oh, I'd be strong "in the moment" and know that I know that I know....and then, after getting run down by THE most insistent children on earth, I'd cave.  It's hard to admit it.  Yet rather cathartic.  (Thanks, Jen!).  I pray I use my (new-found) wisdom if/when grandchildren enter the picture.  Part II:  What is one of your strengths? Feel free to brag yourself up, either seriously or with humor.  That I lived to tell about it.  I kid you not.  If you're a reader of this blog; you know what I'm talking about...And so my strength is flexibility, rolling with the punches; pulling my bootstraps up, gettin' on with life and not holding grudges.  As my sister-in-law has told me many times:  "God gave you these boys.  YOU!  No one else can parent them."  There were many a time when I thought they might do me in in.  But as Gloria Gaynor shouts at the top of her lungs:  "I WILL SURVIVE!"  (with a little help from my friends, and the good Lord above!).  And I count it all as a privilege. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Character(s) Takes Time!

He was headed to war.  That sounds so cool, doesn't it?  Full of drama.  The morning #1 Son left for boot camp was drama enough as #2 Son genuinely choked up.  He had to go though...there was no other choice.  He was 22'ish and a lost dude.  It took one of his friends to pull the covers off his head and shake him a bit - literally, OUT of the bed and into reality.  

The Army isn't for everyone but I am here to vouch that it can indeed grow a boy into a man.   We've witnessed the transformation and I'm thinking our armed forces may be wooing #2 Son.  It could be the ticket he needs to help get his head on.  Whatever is it about (my sons) young men, that it takes time, so much time to figure it all out? 

I believe there are no coincidences and every-single-thing is ordained by God and happens for a (specific) reason; I knew he had to go.  It was all good - on my end.  I had total peace that #1 Son was where he should be. 

Him, not so much....There WERE many ups & downs while in.

(I tell these stories as many bloggers do in place of a journal.)  We've come a long way - from the attitude, anger and anxiety of high school days to this season of restoration.  I am on my knees, often, thanking God for the relationship My Guy and I have with our boy-man.

At almost-27, we talk.  We enjoy one another.  It's FUN to be together and even he is surprised at that.  We have a deep connection - he'll often say:  "Mom, you know me so well."  It's strange to "know" our children - I venture to say, like no one else!   We have that mother-child bonding when they are babies.  Yet as the years move on and we witness playground protocol, finesse on the field (or lack thereof), drama in Drama, the minefield of first love...his person was formed.  It's been a tough road - a long haul to get where we are today. 

                                                       (Grandparents at Boot Camp Graduation)

He's been out several years now and I'd say... still not settled.  But, it's ok.  He'll get "there" when he gets there.  Our relationship is good - he calls My Guy for car, finance and sports talk.  He and I talk about chicks. 

                                       (Stella really is the love of his life...)
And so with Mother's Day rolling around; I focus on my boys vs. Mom since she's been gone fifteen years.   Life has not been what I envisioned say 28/30 years ago; but as my profile states, "I don't do boring."  And our home life has been anything BUT. 

I had an hour-long phone call with a stranger two nights ago.  A mutual friend told her I might be a good one to talk to.  This dear woman is going through a lot and it's all new to her.  She asked me "HOW?"  I told her I would not have made it through parenting without my faith.  God never promised it'd be easy; but He promises He'll be right beside us.  And He has been.  I've got a tattered piece of paper in my Bible with this quote:

"Children, both good and bad, are a part of the plan of God.  He weaves their rebellion as well as their obedience into the pattern of grace for your life.  The darker threads merely create the backdrop from which the golden cords form their patterns of character."

(Russell Kelfer, "If It Be So, Then Why")

And so character takes time to form - and I'm seeing it in #1 Son. 
He even attempts imparting wisdom to his little brother.  #2 Son's darker threads are showing more than his golden cords.  But all in time right?  Or perhaps it'll take booting another one off to The Army.

Here's to you both boys.  It's a privilege to be your mother.



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Slow Down, Soul Sisters!

I'm not one to think life (or anything) should be handed to me on a silver platter.  Ms. Browning's new book deserves to be on one!  Half the blogosphere has been awating the continuation of Dominique Browning's life!  It's a treasure and worth savoring - which means I'm taking my time.

She works it - everything: her garden, her piano, her home, her relationships.  Yet she does it (all) without haste.
                                                 (A little patch of my garden)
Thus, the title of her book "SLOW...."  After reading it for a bit, I gently close the darling and sit still.  Her musings, words mull around my head and heart.  I have a new set of eyes.

I take pleasure and walk through my home and "see" it. 
                                                                       (My front hall)
And, that's it - it's mine and if it pleases me who cares?  Well, I try to please My Guy.  After reading Around the House and in The Garden, and about Ms. Browning's quirky kitchen couch; well, 
h-e-l-l-o lovely!   I tried.  Oh, how I tried but could only fit a chair in mine.  Mom's chair has been a resident in my kitchen six months or so.  I get the funniest comments...however, it seems to be THE favorite seat in there! 
                                                                (Mom's chair in my kitchen)
I wonder if Ms. Browning grasps the magnitude of her influence.  Her books force us outside, and outside our box.  My yard is better off because of her.  My soul is more awake.  Does that make sense? 


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Trampolines & Tough Love

Just wondering if you've had to do "the hard thing"?   Something counter-intuitive to all you know.  I have; well, still am!  And  I'd say Mom did by moving all of us from Connecticut to Texas.  In my (foolish) youth, I was resentful and thought my world was ending.   As an 8th grader in a new school, a new state as a newly divorced 13 year old (well, I wasn't divorced; my folks were)....I wanted to die.  That may be a tad dramatic but 13 year old girls do love drama.  My Speech teacher made me stand in front of the class and said:  "...this is how we do NOT speak." It was humiliating enough that I told Mom I hated Texas.  We were considered odd-birds - funny accents whose mom was (too) attractive and newly divorced. That "D" word was a phenomonon in the early '60s. Guess we were not only odd but rare birds. It was difficult.

Until she bought a trampoline.  If your kids are floundering in friendships; I'd recommend buying one.  I made some friends...dear ones who are still in my life. 

Sometimes parents have to do what it takes to hold the fam together.  I now understand Mom had to get away from it all.  Scandal and heartbreak moved her out west. 

My Guy and I are in a hard place right now.  We've had to disconnect from #2 Son - and wow, what a journey.  As resentful as I was in the 8th grade; I can imagine what our son feels.  Maybe 20 years from now we'll be reconciled...

Jumping on a trampoline would sure be fun right about now.  OR have Mom by my side.   I'd fix her an iced coffee and huddle to talk about our "hard thing."  It's not over and at this moment very much present. 

"....I want my mommy!"