Fresh Starts

With the New Year well underway I wonder how many people have decided they need a fresh start. Perhaps you are looking for a fresh start with your physical health. That seems to be a big priority at this time of year.

My husband always laughs at the fact that prior to the holidays the ads everywhere; are all about food. They show Christmas cookies that can be made. There are recipes for new side dishes at Thanksgiving and lots of ideas for beverages for the New Year celebrations.

After the holidays are done; all the ads seem to be for gym memberships, weight loss plans, exercise equipment and on and on. I must confess my mind was running along those lines this year.

After all the celebrations, my clothes were feeling a bit snug. I am too tight to buy new clothes for my “fatter” stage. I started pondering on the fact that perhaps I should move a bit more.

There was a simple challenge put out by Young Living for it’s members. They call it #NewMeIn90.  The idea is to intentionally move 30 minutes a day. They want you to make small workable changes that will leave you, not just in better health, but feeling better about life in general.

As I was thinking on this concept a friend, Kim, put out a challenge and a link to a 30 day journey into yoga. She did this on Facebook. I quizzed her by asking if this was something an out of shape (very out of shape) older fat woman could do. (I figured I had best start out the year being honest!) She assured me it was doable.

This week I set out to give it a whirl as I figured it would benefit my balance, flexibility and strength. I am happy to report it was going well…..till I hit Day 6. Day 6 is titled, Ignite.

Adriene, the yoga gal (who shall now be named YG) told us we were going to ignite the fire in our belly. I mumbled under my breath that the last 5 days had already been doing that, as I was starting to discover my long lost core. (I had previously not been sure I even had one anymore.)

Day 6 did not go well. After three, crunch- leg and head lifting type things (that started a roaring bonfire in my belly) I gave up that move. She ended that session with smushing up into a small ball with her knees tucked under her and her forehead on the ground.

I am here to tell you, that last pose was another move that didn’t quite work out properly. When you have extra mass around your middle it gets in the way of smushing and doing the deep breathing that YG kept reminding us to do.

Plans are to finish that 30 day challenge. It might not be done gracefully, but I have Kim holding me accountable and that makes me keep going.

It is good to have someone to hold a person accountable. Maybe that should be my goal this year. Be accountable. Do what I say. Finish what I start. Do what I can with what I am given and realize giving your best is good enough.

Perhaps the fresh start the New Year gives us is not just about getting into better physical shape. Perhaps, it is about persevering…..taking the next step….doing the next pose and keeping on even when life is hard.

Maybe YG is right….maybe just taking the time to breathe in and breathe out and being still is a great goal. Maybe it gives us the time to hear that still small voice. Maybe it gives us the space to really see what our Creator has laid out before us. Just maybe, it gives us the peace we need to embrace the gifts we have been given….whatever they might be.

Let us take this fresh start and receive it with joy.  Let’s relish the gift of life and delight in the steps along the way. Let’s take our cue from children….they don’t worry about tomorrow….they just live in the space that is now and enjoy that time.

When you dance,
your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor.
It’s to enjoy each step along the way.
-Wayne Dyer

 

 

Joy In The Mail

20190606_202935307948939.jpg

This past week has been really busy. After a very long winter and an unreal wet spring, the farmers in our area were finally back in the field.

The river has been behaving again and so have the days. They have been breezy, warm (almost hot) and drying. There are still many wet holes in fields but farmers are now farming around them.

Some farmers do venture close to those muddy areas and do end up getting stuck. It has been a very normal thing this year to see Facebook posts with photos of tractors and equipment up their axles in mud.

The other day, my husband came to the house and said he needed my assistance. He and his tractor had ventured to close to an area that looked fine, but was way too wet. We did get it unstuck without to much trouble and it was decided that area would not get planted this year. (There is probably a life lesson in there somewhere.)

I am also still waiting to finish planting my vegetable garden, but I hesitate to mention it because I need the assistance of my farmer husband and he is quite preoccupied this week.  I know it will eventually all get planted….late…but that is better than not at all!

In the middle of all this odd planting season a bit of joy arrived in my mailbox. The picture above is a card from a blogging friend of mine. (moreinkplease). She knew I had been making jean quilts for my grandkids and she also knew the challenges we were facing with farming this year.

I am in awe of her talent at card making  skills (and yes she does sell them and I hope she puts a link to that in the comment section!) Here is the link for her Facebook page…Late Blooming Designs by beverly. I am also loving how she knew exactly the words to write to ease this farm wife’s heart and soul. She is an amazing example of how a few words can say and do so much.

Let’s finish this week following her example. Let’s encourage each other through the hard parts. Let’s see those who are stuck in the mud holes of life and the literal mud holes. Let’s offer words of hope. It doesn’t have to be big….a quilted card can bring a lot of joy! 

“Be humble,
be simple,
and bring joy to others.”
– Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat

 

 

 

 

Joy

20181204_113256.jpg

Last weekend we had a good taste of winter.  It was the type of weather that had schools getting out early, canceled events, canceled church services and late starts for schools on Monday.

I used to be a fan of that type of weather but that was a long……very long time ago. It was, however, good weather to finally motivate me to put up the Christmas tree and the ornaments. There is something about the wind howling, the snow flying by the window and the fire warmly burning in the woodstove that energizes me to decorate for the holidays.

There is a joy to this season. There is a joy in bringing out the familiar decorations and placing them about the house. So many memories are wrapped up in those decorations. Some are from when our parents were young and they have now ended up on our tree.

Those special ornaments have a way of ending up way near the top of the tree. I figure that way they are safe from the hands of small grandchildren. I am hoping that someday my grandkids will help me decorate the tree. I think that would be a very memorable experience!

I enjoy the decorating; but the joy of this season runs so much deeper than the surface stuff. I love the promise of this season that was given two thousand years ago. I love the fact that, that promise never changes. The Hope that was born at that time has never failed me yet and I trust He never will.

I pray that same joy and hope for all of you. I pray that while you prepare for this season there is a real deep river of joy that runs through your life. There are struggles that will come and go but the promise remains constant.

If this season finds you in the middle of a storm….the wind howling and trouble all around, may you find peace…..may you be blessed and may joy find you.

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
Hamilton Wright Mabie  

 

 

 

 

Wedding Memories

FB_IMG_1531710863920.jpg

It has been nearly a week since my middle son was married. For some reason it has been a week that has flown by. We have spent time “slothing” this week and also trying to catch up on things that did not get done in the weeks before the wedding.

There has also been time to reflect on last weekend. So many of those memories just bring a smile to my face. Whenever I see a photo posted on Facebook to do with the wedding it brings the joy right back.

I am going to share a few of my favorite photos of last weekend with you. Most of them I did not even take as I was too busy being mom of the groom. So credit for these goes to pretty much everyone else. To be honest I am not sure who took which photos!

Screenshot_2018-07-17-10-29-41.png

I loved the fact that this wedding brought family from Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Texas and other parts of Iowa. For my husbands side of the family it was the first time in a long time that this many of my nieces and nephews were able to be in the same place at the same time. Only one niece was missing, as she was on a mission trip to Korah, Etheopia. (The three guys in tuxes belong to me!) This is the standard photo taken of this bunch. Ever since they were born we have been lining them up according to age. (They did make the comment that the guys on the left seemed to have more hair that the guys on the right!)

It was such a blessing to watch the generations come together before, during and after the wedding. Our grandchildren connecting with their Great Grandparents was something that made this Grandma’s heart full.

Watching my husband care for our youngest grandson was truly a joy. He has a gift for dealing with our grandchildren….maybe that is because he has been growing older but not quite growing up?

I also must confess I did enjoy the mother/son dance. They let me choose the song and my choice was, “I Hope You Dance.”  It has long been my hope and prayer for my children.

The smiles on the faces of my children and their families was a gift that was precious indeed.

 

20180714_185706.jpgWhile all these photos are precious I truly loved the one that someone took of the newlyweds as they watched the video of their lives.

I love the way my new daughter-in-law rests her head on my sons’ shoulder and he has his arm around her

It speaks of trust…… It speaks of protection…..It speaks of love.

My prayer and my hope is that they never forget that feeling. That through the ups and downs that come with being married and navigating life together….this moment comes back and is fresh in their minds through all the “stuff”.

I pray their hearts and minds stay faithful and that they look to the example of their grandparents and parents. It was an incredible witness at the wedding that there were four sets of grandparents and two sets of parents in attendance…..all still married to the spouse of their youth. It was a witness to the perseverance of love and trust through all the things that life throws at you.

May this weekend find you remembering the joy of your youth. May you remember what it was that you loved about your spouse when you first met them. May the “bumps” in the road of life smooth out as those memories come to life again.  And above all…..I Hope You Dance!

“I Hope You Dance”

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance, I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’

Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance, I hope you dance
I hope you dance, I hope you dance

(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone)

 

 

 

 

 

Grandma-ing

The old signs used to hang on business doorways…”Gone Fishing”.

This is my weekend to hang out a sign..only I am not fishing….I am Gone Grandma-ing. Yup a new term and a great one.

I am finding out that I am not as young as I was when my kids were this age! Good thing there are 2 grandmas to take care of one boy.

I will be back next week but for now my days are occupied with other things.

Children are a gift from the Lord;
They are a reward from Him”
Psalm 127:3

Card Making and Youth

20171106_105354_film1.jpg

I spent some time a couple weeks ago preparing to help with a girls organization called GEMS. This is a church related group that always has a theme verse for the year. I found out that this year it is one of my favorite verses… Micah 6:8 ” He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

My part of the evening was going to be helping with the craft and I was going to help with card making. Last week, was the week I got to have the fun of helping out with that group of girls.

20171106_143517_Film1.jpgIt was a little hard to decide what type of cards I was going to prepare for a group of young girls. It is always kind of an experimental thing knowing what someone else will like. Of course I had to include a chicken card!

They did seem to like that one and it was fun to hear the stories of moms and grandmas who also had chickens. It was also fun to try figure out if I knew those moms and grandmas!

The stamps for the chicken cards were a set from Stampin’ Up called “Hey Chick”. I love this set for obvious reasons! Some gold, white, and navy cardstock, markers to color chicks with and we had a finished card.

The other two cards we made, are in the picture at the top. Not quite as “fun” but they still had a good time making them. All the stamps used on these three cards were from various set from Stampin’ Up. The cardstock and paper came from a variety of places…..Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, Stampin’ Up and some really old scraps from Creative Memories. (Nope I don’t get any compensation for mentioning where the stuff comes from….just thought it might be helpful.)

Watching those girls make cards and listening to their comments was wonderful. It gives me great hope for the future. These girls were polite, full of funny comments and they freely helped each other with ideas for their cards.

It should probably be mandatory for everyone over a certain age to spend time with young people. Their view on life can make a person feel young again and see that the future is full of promise. They give you the feeling that anything is possible and bring a joy to life that is catchy.

I have always told my kids that my goal is to get old but not grow up……and after that evening I know why. (Oh….and my kids have assured me that I am doing just fine on my goal.)

It is good to have the joy of a young person. It is good to see the endless possibilities in life. Some days are easier than others to find that joy but it is a wonderful thing when you do. I pray this finds you full of joy and possibilities.

 

The good thing about being young is that you are not experienced enough to know you cannot possibly do the things you are doing.
Unknown

Youth is not a question of years:
one is young or old from birth.
Natalie Clifford Barney

Star Of Hope

 

20170922_191651

Autumn steals in softly
on gentle winds that blow.
The smell of earth around us
with golden fields that glow.

The cries of birds are silent
their songs no longer heard.
They’ve all flown to distant lands
by warmer weather lured.

The trees in all their splendor
have traded leaves of green.
For hues of yellow,orange and rust
and in the breeze they preen.

The flowers are slowly fading
giving up the fight
Except the blazing Star of Hope
Dancing in the night.
Faye K.

I only know this flower by the name my aunt has told me…the Star of Hope. I am quite sure it is of the allium family but I have not been able to google what kind it actually is. It is a bulb that I plant in the spring and dig back out in the fall. It seems to take forever to break through the soil.

About the time you give up on it showing up….there it is!  It grows rapidly to about 4 – 5 feet tall. It is a pretty forgiving bulb. I have forgotten it in my basement for half a summer and then stuck it in the ground. It never fails to grow and bloom…no matter when or where it is planted.

When I went to get a photo of this flower I had to hold the stem because it seemed to want to keep moving in the breeze. (I had to use my phone because I shelled out my other camera lens on vacation). I love the layers of this flower….the waxy white petals, the stamens surrounding the center and the multiple stems that hold all those beautiful blooms.

I would hope to be like that bulb….forgiving and blooming no matter where and when I have been placed. It would be good to be faithful and show up no matter what. I would hope to bring as much joy to those around me; as seeing that tall graceful stem brings to me.

May you bloom no matter where you are.  May hope find you in the place you have been planted. May you bring joy and blessing to others…and may you dance in the night.

God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone,
but also on trees,
and in the flowers and clouds and stars.

Martin Luther

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/martinluth140721.html?src=t_flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adventure is Where You Look

Plum Thicket.JPG

What a difference a few days can make in our Iowa weather! Last week we were enjoying warmer weather and suddenly this morning we woke up to winter again! I did not run out and take any pictures as I had seen enough snow during the season that WAS actually winter.

I chose, instead, to remember the weather last week when my husband invited me for an adventure along the river. We heard that people had been morel mushroom hunting and thought perhaps we should give that a go.

After climbing up and down slippery banks, hanging onto low hanging tree limbs to keep from sliding back down and stepping over fallen, rotting logs, we had not caught sight of anything resembling a mushroom. We decided that we  were either worthless at this ‘shroom hunting thing, they just weren’t growing yet, or they do not grow where we were looking.

Fortunately, for us, there was so much other stuff to enjoy and take in. We got to see an old apple tree, in full bloom, hanging out over the river. We did wonder how long and how many more years before the river bank eroded and that tree would topple into the river. We also wondered what kind of apple it was. My husband tells me it gets small, crab apple sized apples on it and they are quite tasty.

We rounded a corner and the air smelled like perfume. We then spotted where that wonderful smell was coming from………. there was a plum thicket in full bloom. I shoved my nose into the flowers and just inhaled as deeply as I could! I wish I could bottle that scent…it was absolutely beautiful.

I discovered that sometimes the best adventures are the ones where you find what you weren’t even looking for. We didn’t find any mushrooms; but in many ways we found something so much better.

We found beauty in the water rippling over the rocks. We smelled something far better than any bottled perfume, in the blossoms of a plum thicket. We saw the tenacity of an apple tree hanging onto a river bank and still blooming profusely. And we watched a hawk sitting in it’s nest in a tree high above us.

So much of life can be an adventure. Sometimes, even our Iowa weather can be an adventure. The day can start out looking like winter (in the springtime!) and 12 hours later the snow is gone, the grass is once again green and not snow-covered, and the birds are singing their end of day songs. Life, in all it’s variety, is an amazing, wonderful thing.

End of Day.JPG

The one sure thing about weather in Iowa is the fact that it can run the gamut of two to three season……..all in one day. It is hard to know how to plan for that but you are never bored! I believe the key to surviving that kind of day is to keep in mind the adventure of it all and that the joy really is in the journey.

“I do not want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it.
I want to have lived the width of it as well.”
-Diane Ackerman

 

 

 

 

 

Not All That Glitters…..

kaboom-game

It may be true that “Not all that glitters is gold.” I think the reverse is also true….Not all gold is something that glitters. I have no idea if that makes any sense whatsoever…..it just sounded kind of profound.

I have many things in life that are really pure gold….family and friends being at the top of the list. My daughter-in-law posted the picture of the two grandkids on Facebook the other day. It just made my day to see those two little ones.

They are the real gold in my life. Those two bring such a joy to life. Everything they do is done with everything they have. They really know how to live life to the full and they sparkle from the inside out.

I did have to do some questioning about the Kaboom game after seeing the photo. I first thought they were knocking down the blocks with marshmallows. Turns out those are white painted blocks…..which is a good thing; as I am not sure about the shelf life of a game that would use marshmallows as game pieces.

I digress (which I often do). I also have some amazing friends. One of them truly does glitter! We have often called her the glitter queen. Wherever she goes she has a sparkle about her….literally. I should explain. She is a craft wizard and loves….(did I say loves?) to use glitter. There are times her husband even sparkles. (I am not so sure how impressed he is with the thought of sparkling.)

There is a down side to glitter. Once it gets loose in your home it attaches itself to everything. My daughter-in-law once gave me a Christmas present wrapped in beautiful paper that had glittery snowflakes on it. It did not take long and everything and everyone had a slight sparkle to and on them….maybe more than a slight sparkle. It was actually quite wonderful in a Christmas sparkly kind of way.

My daughter-in-law started to snicker and informed me that the clerk who had sold her the paper explained to her about glitter.  According to him, and I quote, “Glitter is the herpes of the craft world…….once you have it…..you can never get rid of it.” That is a quote that has firmly planted itself in my brain. It comes to mind every time I see a tube of glitter, a card with glitter or anything sparkly and glitter related. That quote is somewhat like glitter….I don’t think I will ever be able to erase it!

I am so glad that there is so much more to my family and friends than just temporary , external sparkle. They are “Real” and their beauty and worth comes from who they are inside and not what they look like outside. They are beautiful, wonderful people….inside and out.

I pray that you have a friend or family member who sparkles and shines from the inside. I pray this friend or family member spreads a little “internal glitter” over your life and brings you joy. I also pray that you, in turn, spread a little glitter over those around you.

 

“Consider the fact that maybe…just maybe…
beauty and worth aren’t found in a makeup bottle,
or a salon-fresh hairstyle, or a fabulous outfit.
Maybe our sparkle comes from somewhere deeper inside,
somewhere so pure and authentic and REAL,
it doesn’t need gloss or polish or glitter to shine.”

Mandy Hale, T
he Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

 

 

 

 

Old Years and New Beginnings

Twilight.JPG

I walked outside last night to lock my girls in the coop for the night. The minute I stepped out of our garage door and walked across the driveway I noticed how still it was. The wind had died down, there were no traffic sounds and all I heard, as I walked, was the crunch of gravel under my feet.

The sky was darkening quickly and the horizon was displaying the last light of day in a thin yellow ribbon. Evergreen trees in the backyard were silhouettes against the coming dark of night. It was truly the space of time between day and night where the world lies hushed and waiting…..hanging onto the old day and yet ready to give way to something new.

These last few days of 2016 are rather like that space of time. We are busy trying to wrap up the old year while our thoughts are beginning to focus on what the new one will bring. The past year brings back so many thoughts and memories. Things we did accomplish….things we did not get done. New people we have met and friends and family that we will not meet this side of heaven again. New jobs, new hairdos, new additions to our families …….changes…. sweet and some bittersweet.

Some of last year we cannot wait to be rid of. Plans that did not work out and caused us pain.  Memories we might like to toss out…. like the Christmas tree after the season. Some memories are not quite so easy to toss out. Some consequences must be lived with.

Some memories we will hold onto tightly. We will keep them close and cherish them. The time we spent with people we love and who love us are like pictures in our minds that we can “see” and just smile at the memory. These are things that time cannot erase.

Last year brought some wonderful things.  At least into my life. My children encouraged me to blog and I have met some amazing, wonderful people while doing so.  The kids just grin when I speak of some of you; as if I saw you just yesterday; when in reality I have never met you in person.

I have been privileged to share in your lives and have been thoroughly blessed by that fact.  I have been honored to pray for you during this past year and look forward to doing that in the coming new year.

So many thoughts can run through my head as I stand outside watching the day turn to  night. Thoughts of people and their lives, their hurts and their joys. Thoughts of places I have been this past year and places I hope to go in the coming year. Thoughts of things accomplished and things still on my to do list when it comes to faith, home, health, relationships and fun.

That space of time between day and night is a great place to pause and reflect. It is a place of hushed, reverent wonder. It is a place where the soul can dance. It is a place to offer your thoughts and prayers for peace when it comes to certain memories and thanks for others. It is a place to ask for renewal in the year to come.

My prayer for all of you in this coming year is joy, peace and hope. May you have joy in the everyday things, peace in adversity, and hope in every breath you take.  May you be blessed and may your soul dance…..

 

 

  “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:18-19