Monday, May 19, 2014

Moody Mondays: Are You So Busy You Can Make Crazy Look Good?

Are you one of those people that have such a busy schedule you don't know if you are coming or going? You know, the kind that takes a disorganized, chaotic schedule and breaks it down to run smooth as silk?
Not me! But I have figured out a way to make going crazy look good.
My children use to ask me, “Where ya going?”
My answer, “Crazy, wanna come?”
At first this was met with a "yes" before they realized what I was talking about. Then over time it was met with their own comical responses. This trick became so popular in my family that everyone has used it at least once.
So, I had to change it up a bit.
“I'm so busy I make crazy look good.”
I can hear it does one make crazy look good? Crazy is just crazy.
Don't laugh...I know to some they may mock the idea...but I call it the power of prayer, handful of scripture, and a load of faith. In my day to day life, I have noticed that if any one of these things are missing, my schedule begins to have a meltdown. It took me awhile to analyzed this.
My children and grandchildren
photo by tlpoague
On days that I don't have much to worry about, except for a bit of writing, it was easy to stick to my early morning ritual. But on days when my schedule is more demanding, or family drops by, and I don't follow my morning ritual, it is a guarantee that at some point during that day I will become too busy to spend a few moments with God. Most of the time I didn't realize it until I went to bed.
I have a friend that enjoys stenciling sayings onto wooden plaques. She has a few that are her favorite but I have two that sick in my mind when I think of her.
photo by tlpoague
“What if today you woke up with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?”
“Sometimes God calms the storm, sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms his children.”
I don't know the author of these sayings but I am grateful the I came across them. Because before now, I hadn't given it much thought about how thankful I was or how I handled life's storms unless asked. Could you imagine what life would be like if God said, “Sorry, I'm too busy today to answer your prayer or give you a hand.”?
I know I would be having a meltdown.
In those moments when I feel a meltdown beginning, I think of two of my favorite scriptures:
“I can do all thing through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13 
This is a plaque that
can be found in
Hobby Lobby.
photo by tlpoague
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
I never have a dull moment in my life with working out a writing schedule, day to day tasks, and being around my children and family. That is why in those unexpected quiet moments, I try to slip away and thank God for my many blessings and talents. And...for helping me to overcome my little box of craziness.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Does Your Mood Swing Like The Mad Hatter?

I can hardly believe it has been six weeks since starting Moody Mondays. (Wow, time flies when you're having fun.) I haven't exactly gone in the direction I had planned on but have enjoyed reading and hearing the comments from others. I think it has allowed me to follow a wondering path in exploring different types of writing. Like my life, it is often chaotic and full of surprises. The only thing I can seem to be consistent on is looking forward to what I can write about the next week.
I want to thank the ladies that have joined in sharing their links and comments. It has been a privilege to have you here, sharing your stories, and comments. Thank you for taking the time to join me.
I want to thank my family for the stories, ideas, and pictures, they have shared. I never thought about writing a children's book in the fashion of Rusty Rooster until you mentioned it. I think it will be a great addition to my Big Nam series.
photo by DigitizedSolutions
I want to thank my little bro for allowing me access to his photo website and for helping me with this blog. I will be posting photos, along with a few of his, in the upcoming weeks. These can be purchased for a small price for those that are interested in a variety of scenic views. He is an amazing up and coming photographer.
As I began to post in yesterday's blog, I have never seen myself as being talented. I have always viewed myself as having a wide range of interests. I think this helps when going through the stages of being a writer. I have often dreamed of what it would be like to live as a pioneer when I sat upon the knee of my great-grandmother, as she told me her childhood stories.
It is a whole other world when learning to be self-sufficient. The process of growing and butchering your own meat is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but it can be a fascinating addition for a story.
To have the knowledge of sewing, crocheting, knitting, needlepoint, and cross-stitching may not seem as important now, but in those days it was a part of one's personality. Much could be learned about a person by the projects they created.
I have now realized takes a certain amount of skill to be able to create a meal over an open fire or on a cast iron stove. (I learned how to cook on a cast iron stove one winter when living in a cabin in the mountains.) So, imagine my surprise when my daughter came home one day from school to share her experiences in her home-economics class. None of the students knew how to hand wash dishes, let alone whip up a meal. (Some of these stories I will share in upcoming blogs.)
Being a writer takes a great deal of creativity and imagination. I feel truly blessed by God for the wealth of both I have been given. I thank my parents for giving me the opportunity to developed them. I remember being taught that the luxuries of certain technology were a privilege that shouldn't be taken for granted. This outlook created a childhood filled with exploration, imagination, and simplicity. These were traits my husband and I tried to pass along to our children. I am now seeing the fruits of that labor as my daughter is passing along what she has learned to her children. Every day that I watch my grandsons grow is an adventure.
My grandson
photo by tlpoague
Trying to be a Godly woman in this day and age presents its own challenges. All to often it is easy to become distracted and tempted. I haven't written about my Christian living as much as I first thought I would. It isn't because I am ashamed, it's more like I am not sure what to say. I think to have a fruitful life, one needs God at the core. I have seen both sides of the boat to show me that my path lies with following Jesus and acknowledging him as my Savior. Some of the miracles I have witness I shared on HubPages. In time I will try to share more across the websites I write on.
As I wrap up another edition of Moody Monday, I would have to say my mood today is gratitude. My mother once told me, it is okay to try and be superwoman, but don't forget to find time for God and yourself.
I look forward to seeing you again next week if not before.
photo by tlpoague

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Tribute To My Mom This Mother's Day

My mom
photo by tlpoague
These last few months have been busy constructing a schedule where I can write, do other creative projects, and spend time with my grandchildren. Unfortunately, it has left little time to read, comment, and write upon my other websites as I would like. I feel myself being sucked down into a black hole where I have begun to see myself as a failure.

I felt I was letting my readers down by not being able to commit myself to being online interacting with them. I felt I was letting my daughter down by not being available when she needed me. I felt I was letting my husband down by not spending one on one time with him. This led me down the rabbit hole of letting myself down for not completing projects or writing. I didn't want to think about family drama or other issues associated with it.

So, I called the one person whom I knew would understand what it was like to spread oneself so thin.

I called my mom.

"Mom, I need some inspiration." I told her. "I am feeling like I am trying to cram to much into too little time to fully enjoy what I am doing. Now I have writer's block again...along with a string of migraines."
My mom and me
photo by tlpoague

She chuckled.

"Why are you laughing?" I asked.

"Oh, honey, I remember those days." She replied.

I was feeling deflated and defeated. Now my mother was laughing at me. Well, not at me so much as at the situation.

"I am sure your readers will understand if you can't commit to writing everyday. Just write as time allows you to. As long as you do your best, the rest will fall into place. Don't force or rush it." She coaxed. "Remember when I would get into these slumps when we were writing for HubPages? You were full of advice how to freshen up a piece or help me go in the direction I wanted. I had no clue what I was doing, but you were always a phone call away to help. When was the last time you went back to read your earlier pieces?"
Hmm, I hadn't a clue. These days I am usually thinking about it but not acting on it. Maybe it was time to find the time.

This conversation made me recall a couple of her stories from HubPages, "I Swore I Wouldn't Sound Like My Mom", "Grandmothers Are Great Teachers".
My great-grandmother and part of the crew
photo by tlpoague
Oh, how these words have come back to haunt us many a time.

I can still see in my mind's eye, my eight-six year old great-grandmother on her knees, under the kitchen table, chasing my sister, Pie, with a fly swatter for putting her toes on the table. (Elbows and feet on the table were a big taboo in those days.) My mother would just stand there with a permanent grin that included visions of herself, doing those same actions just days before. I, too, have lost count how many time I have punished my own children with the intentions of not sounding like my mother, only to realize later how sound her advice was.

"I just can't seem to get motivated to cook, clean, or finish my craft projects. I want to do it, but...I feel a streak of laziness coming on, and my son will be here tomorrow." I amazed myself with how whinny I sounded.

"So..." Mom asked, "What's stopping you?"

"Umm...dunno...lazy...unmotivated?" I pondered.

"Excuses, that is all they are...excuses. Why aren't you playing your favorite music? Why don't you make a list you want to accomplish? Why are you whining? What happened to focusing on being positive?"

Now I remembered why I couldn't stand my children whining. I learned it from my mother. Good grief...what was I doing?

So, I tried to drum up something positive. I could feel the last few wires in my brain starting to smoke as I cranked over the engine.

"I have one for you." I told Mom as I focused on an idea, "you know how sometimes you don't see yourself as being talented until someone points it out?"

"Ya," I could hear her snacking on something, while she replied in a dreamy voice. I was beginning to lose her.

"The other day, while visiting with Little Man and his wife, I tried to show off my skills and whip up a meal from scratch."

"Oh," was the bored response.

"Yup, I could have broke the record with the worst apple crisp in the history of my baking." I began to brag.

Suddenly, as if the current changed, I could feel my mother's interest perk up. This was news to her. Rarely do I screw up something so simple.

"What happened?" She asked. Her curiosity sparked.

"Well, ya know how hard it is to cook at a hostess's place when they lack the ingredients and tools needed?" (I happened to be cooking at my son's place he had recently moved in to. He hadn't stocked up the place yet.)


Excited, I took a deep breath and launched into my story.

"I decided I wanted to make chicken noodle soup, with homemade noodles, mashed potatoes, and an apple crisp. I lacked a rolling pin, so, I made due with patting it out with my hands. Then I nearly took off a few fingers trying to cut the onions, carrots, and celery with a cheap knife. I had to use a tiny, flexible, paring knife to peel potatoes while chatting with Little Man's wife.  She was busy helping peal the apples for the crisp. That reminded me of Grandma M always scolding us for not peeling our produce paper thin. This caused both of us to laugh because we looked like we were taking chunks out of our peelings. After our task was done, Mrs. Man stepped back to watch me work in the kitchen. She was telling me that it amazed her how I could whip around so fast, multitasking, and still being able to hold a conversation. I must have had her pretty fooled, because I felt like I was a bit crazy and forgetful. She told me about how Little Man tried teaching her how to drive a stick shift. She mentioned that she had a hard time getting past second gear. I couldn't blame her, it took me forever to learn. Of course, I didn't mention this, I was too busy not burning anything and attempting to remember how to make the apple crisp. Then I remembered the kiddo had a cookbook I gave him. So I whipped it out, while Mrs. Man finished her story, and realized I needed a few more ingredients. So, off we headed to the store."

I paused for a moment for a breath.

I couldn't hear anything at the other end.

"Hello?" I asked.

"Ya, I'm here." Mom replied, "So, then what happened?"

"We jumped in the car and picked up our stories where we left off, till about a block away, when she interrupted me. She asked if I was driving a stick. Not thinking about it I said...ya, why? She gave me a look that there anything you can't do?
Gosh, I just assumed everyone knew the things we do. It didn't register that for some people they may not know how to bake, cook a certain item, crochet, or do many other homemaking skills.
This was about the time I realized how much we had in common. She was interested in learning how to do the things I was taught as a youngster. She couldn't believe that even Little Man knew how to do the basics of crocheting.
I mean, these are things that are common in our family. I grew excited at the prospect of teaching her, and others, what I have been taught. I love that I was given the ability to learn so much from my grandmothers and you. I feel really blessed that God has given us so many talents. Oh, ya, as for the apple crisp, I forgot to add the sugar, a dot of butter, and flour to it just like Grandma did"

It was in those precious moments that I realized, without saying much, my mother had given me a gift.

The motivation I was looking for.
My mom and my daughter
photo by tlpoague

I took a few moments to look beyond myself to my daughter and how far she has come. She is leading the next generation down a similar path as the ones the women before us have taken.

I just want to say thank you, Mom, for all your support. P.S., you'll need to check your posts on HubPages now. No more excuses...*smiles*

I'll look forward to seeing y'all again tomorrow for Moody Monday!

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Vacation on a Whim

It is amazing to see how God can work in our lives when we pause for a moment and reflect back to an answered prayer, a miracle, or what some would refer to as a God-wink. I had that moment when a prayer was answered a few weeks ago.
It had been a year since I seen my son. He was taking a huge step on his own moving to a different state to start a new job. My hubby and I didn't have many opportunities to drop everything and take a trip since we were tied down to running our business. My son had to wait till he had enough vacation time to fly out. Time passed as both parties waited.
Then one day, out of the blue, an opportunity presented itself. Easter weekend was just beginning to wrap up. I was discouraged, stressed, and feeling confined to my house. Even though I had an enjoyable time celebrating Easter with my daughter and grandchildren, I felt a big chunk of myself was missing. Apparently, my hubby felt the same way.
That night he asked how I would feel to take a trip to see our son.
I said, “Sure, when do you want to go?”
Hubby, “How about tomorrow after the grandson's leave?”
I think I broke my record prepping for a trip.
We mapped out our route and took off as soon as the sun rose. It was the longest 16 hour trip of my life, but well worth it. It felt amazing to unplug, unwind, and just let my woes fade with each passing mile while reconnecting with Mr. P..
I did manage to give myself a panic attach when I realized I had left my camera on my bed. I had one of those DUH moments where I had packed it. Left it in my bag for the night. Then unpacked it to use during our drive. Unfortunately in the chaos to get on the road, I forgot to grab it. Man, did I want to kick myself at that moment for taking it out of my bag. (My son's girlfriend was kind enough to let me borrow her's, but many of the pictures came out blurry. Still, I was grateful to have the chance to take some.)
This is a view of the copper mine my son works at.
photo by tlpoague
I had the time of my life touring my son's work place, rock hunting for hidden gems, bonding with my brother, my son, and the women in their lives, and seeing what life is like in the desert, with a splash of mountains. It was amazing to see a small town with traffic backed up for miles. (Again, I kicked myself for leaving my camera.)
I tried to suppress my fear of snakes, scorpions, and spiders. (Have you ever heard of a rock spider? I didn't but I guess they can grow to the size of a fist.) I felt fortunate enough not to encounter any of the above. I listened to enough stories around the table to last me a life time. That night I had visions of being terrorized by creepy crawlies and poisonous snakes bigger than a man's leg. I can guarantee that camping in that state is a no go in my book.
This is one of the few creepy crawlies I don't mind running into.
photo by tlpoague
I still remember my brother telling me his experience when he thought he was seeing worms on the road after a good rain. Upon closer inspection, it was a migration of tarantulas. I had goosebumps and shivers running down my back thinking of that. My imagination was so creative, when I felt a long strand of hair on my arm I attacked it as if it were a creepy crawly. This created a good laugh with Mr. P..
For eleven days we laughed, played, traveled to see sights, and helped my brother with his greenhouse and aqua-pond garden. I can't wait to go again.
It was fun helping my little bro as he added sky lights to his shed for his aqua-pond greenhouse.
photo by tlpoague
This is one of three containers to his aqua-pond. This one will hold his plants as the water flows from the fish tank, through this plant tank, to the holding tank.
photo by tlpoague 

I give thanks to the Lord for this wonderful and unexpected moment. I have realized that even though there are moments when I feel miles from his presence, he is always there...waiting to bless us.