Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Media Circus

I stood in line at the grocery store today buying milk and coffee creamer. It seems the occupants in my household never bother to tell me we are out of things until I need them. Missing containers in the fridge are usually my first clues. Don't bother to ask anyone, no one will come clean and admit to anything.

At least I have broken them of the habit of leaving only enough of any liquid or dry substances in our home for a last meal for a mouse or perhaps Moo. You know what I am talking about. When your pour out milk and there is only enough to cover the bottom of the cup you just poured it in. Now you have the dilemma of not enough milk to wet your whistle but now you have a dirty cup to boot.

While looking around til it was my turn to pay, you can't help but look at all the magazines filling every inch of space that is eye level to you. Unless you are in the candy and gum aisle. I wasn't. So you do what I do.

You read the covers without picking them up. It broke my heart much like the news does lately because all you read about on these magazines is bad news about people or worse yet, photos showing these people looking their absolute worse.

I am sure all the money each of these people receives is plenty to warrant taking a picture of them leaving the gym, sweating, over sized clothes and no makeup. Don't even talk about the hair. I mean, it's part of the lifestyle that goes along with that big old paycheck they receive.

But very rarely do you read anything positive about anyone except secret weddings or so and so is dating so and so, don't they make a cute couple or so and so is adopting yet another child from a third world country to add to their ever expanding family.

I find it irritating at times because people just can't seem to catch a break. Cameras are becoming more high tech and unless you are locked away in the privacy of your home, you, your family and your friends are all fair game. Anything is news worthy and the worse it is, the more it pays to sell it.

After reading covers revealing a recent reality show couple going through a divorce you look at the pictures of a family being torn apart. Why the break? What couldn't pull them through this? Is the media to blame? Is the cost of fame far too great a price no one would be willing to pay?

Next to the headline were the bullets, you'd better get a good lawyer, how they told the kids, and why she fears being alone. It broke my heart. I can relate to this. Nothing good will come of it, but time will make things better. For now, the circus continues. Next to that story, news on who another famous friends celebrity has been seen with now. Wedding plans in the very near future? Buy this magazine and not find out.

Do you really find out anything or is it just a mad selling point to draw you to buy the magazine?

TV isn't any better, the more gruesome, bloody, tragic and heartbreaking, it will make you stop what you are doing at 11pm and tune in. All these media stuff in circulation surrounding the death of a music star and what really killed him. I mean people just crawl out from the wall with accusations and finger pointing. In the end, I am sure you will find, in my opinion, what they will rule as accidental overdose of prescription painkillers and other drugs. Another celebrity at the breaking point of not being able to take it any longer. Peace has alluded them for so long they find it any way they can.

Does it really matter? Why are people so drawn to the fire the media puts out there, like a moth to a flame? I believe it's because it takes the focus at least temporary off our own problems. We can look at things in a worse case scenario setting and realize our lives aren't quite that complicated or better than that. Perhaps that helps restore some hope or faith in our own lives or perhaps we are just drawn to it for reasons that remain unknown.

For now, our TV remains off, and we pick up our lives where we left off yesterday and try to make the most of what we have today. We don't know if there will be a tomorrow but at least we have today. A brand new 24 hours full of the possibilities of what could be.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Dream

In continuing excepts from my book I am working on, I will post parts of them on Mondays. I would thoroughly enjoy all your comments and suggestions, blunt honesty and criticism. Hope you enjoy it.

The Dream

She awoke to another silent scream, drenched in sweat, pulling off the covers from her shoulders. She glanced around unaware at what had just happened. She breathed in and out in a concentrated effort to get back to a normal in and out rhythm. After more minutes than she cared to count, she could barely hear her breath anymore. She was able to breathe in through her nose. She took a deep breath and sighed and tried to remember where she was.

She was still sitting in her own room, surrounded by old familiar objects of her world. She could see herself sitting on the floor looking at her reflection in a mirror framed by pictures of her and her friends over the years. Despite so many pictures, she could still see herself quite clearly. She was back. Back to reality once more. A reality she hadn’t hoped would come. A reality she hoped would be lost deep within her dream world. A dream she wished she would never wake up from.

Still here she sat, pink comforter wrapped around her legs. Her sheets lie in a crumpled heap, where she had thrown them upon waking.

Paint by number pictures of horses of different colors stared back at her from the walls like they were frozen in time. She had painted those so long ago, but still remembers the exact time and place where she created them all. She closes her eyes.

Sitting at the kitchen table, paints in their plastic containers all numbered, dry paint brush waiting the opportunity to greet the first dab of color and the canvas stamped with black numbers and an outline of a horse. Beneath her work surface was some newspaper just in case the paint spilled like last time. Momma understood then, but not sure she would be so forgiving the second time around.

She opened the container of paint carefully, picked up the red paintbrush and dipped it into a black glossy color. She located the number 1 on the container and began carefully to paint in all the areas with the corresponding number 1 on them. She looked up to see her mom folding clothes on the kitchen counter, laying them out neatly by designated piles based on whose clothing they belonged to. She stopped momentarily and looked at me.

“Make sure you don’t spill all of that like last time, pay attention!” she cautioned while still folding a T-shirt.

“I put down newspaper this time, Momma.” I said proudly.

“Still, make sure you watch what you are doing. You don’t want your Poppa to become angry again, right?

“Yes Momma! I’ll be extra careful today.” I said and began to once again fill in all the black number 1’s.

I sat there for hours, carefully rinsing out my paintbrush, and making sure that it was completely void of all color by wiping it on a paper towel. I would pick another color, and then make sure to only complete that color in it’s designated spot once more.

Pretty soon, my water started to turn a grayish green and no matter how many times, I would try and swirl my brush in the cup, the water simply wouldn’t get it any cleaner. I looked up to ask my Momma to get me some new water, but she had gone upstairs to put all the clothes away. I didn’t want to bother my mom, so I carefully put the cap back on my paint, took my brush out of the water and put it down on the table. As I stood up, I pushed the chair out with my legs, and grasped the cup into my hand, steadying myself on the table top with the other hand.

I didn’t realize that my shirtsleeve had caught on the top of the chair’s back and when I slid out from the chair, I spilled the water on both the kitchen floor and me. I tried to hurry and pull my sleeve off the chair but I panicked and knocked the chair over.

“Amanda, what’s that noise?” Momma called from the hallway. I heard her footsteps on the stairs as she began racing down the stairs to reach the kitchen.

I tried to pick up the chair as fast as I could, and in doing that, pulled the newspaper off the table. Next all the paint from my paint set as well as my painting found a new home as well on the kitchen floor with the newspaper.

Momma reached the kitchen just as everything had settled. Paint now oozed from the containers that no longer held each of them separately now blending in with one another, forming new colors. My painting lay face down on the kitchen floor and as I picked it up, I saw it had left its paint on the floor like a stamped image where I had filled in the colors. No more lines, no more numbers. Just a big smudge of black, brown and some olive colored green. Along with that, the water had begun to seep into the newspaper and paint creating one big dripping mess.

My white school shirt was now covered with a big water stain of green and gray water. I began to cry. Not because it would take me forever to clean it but because I knew what was coming.

“Oh Amanda, not again.” Said my Momma sadly. “What will your father say now?”

“You don’t have to tell him. We can, I mean, I can clean it up before he ever notices.” I said nervously.

“You know it doesn’t work like that right?” Momma said with raised eyebrows looking sternly at me.

I began to cry harder. Hoping that the louder I cried maybe she would take pity on me this time and give me time to make it right. I tried to pick up the newspaper but it only torn in tiny pieces because of the water had soaked it completely through.

I looked up at the kitchen window and saw that the sky was growing darker and purples and blacks began to fill the spaces that had once been blue. Now it was getting later. It was only a matter of time. Time before father would arrive. Time before my reality would set in once more.

My Momma stood over me, standing with her hands on her hips. She was wearing her blue jeans and a red and white checked blouse. Her hair pulled up in a high ponytail, and tapping her foot on the floor next to me.

The clock next to the kitchen window was slowly ticking out the seconds that I knew were coming all too soon. In another minute or so, it would all be over.

The place where moments before were all warm and fuzzy, full of possibilities of hope and love, but then like a cloud it came. I looked up and saw my Poppa standing in the doorway, and the look of fury and anger on his face was more than I could bear.

I continued to sit in my paint and newspaper mess, tears rolling down my face, hoping that he would take pity on me this time. I saw the belt in his right hand, hanging low and swinging from his side, and I closed my eyes. I close them because perhaps if I don’t see it coming, it won’t hurt as much this time.

I will try harder next time. Try harder to be a better like girl for them. After all they must love me otherwise they wouldn’t have adopted me. They said they had tried so hard for so many years and God must have cursed them with no children. That is why they came for me. Came when so many others would look at me and smile, but I never got to leave. Not until the day they came. They said I was just what they were looking for. A perfect little girl, who could be Momma’s little helper and Poppa’s little girl.

I know now, that it must be my fault. They came and took me from the home I sat in after so many of my friends had left to find new homes with loving families. So they must love me. At least that is what they always tell me in the morning, after the pain goes away and they aren’t so mad at me anymore. They tell me they love me so it must be true. I will try harder next time. I will try to not make them so mad any more at me, and try harder to make them love me more. Then perhaps Momma won’t let Poppa hit me anymore.

She says it for the best. She tells me I need to learn right from wrong. That the Bible even says “spare the rod, spoil the child” and I certainly don’t want to be spoiled. Momma reminds me that people don’t like spoiled little children. People will talk about those children behind others backs. I don’t want to be spoiled. So Momma says Poppa must teach me again. I am trying really hard to learn. Trying to figure out why I always make them so mad. I wonder why I keep making so many mistakes. I wonder if maybe I was born this way, to always do bad things and perhaps I deserve to be hit.

Maybe that is why my own Momma left me at the restaurant one night. She said she was going to the bathroom and would be right back. She never did. So I must be bad, my own Momma didn’t want me.

I look up once more and see my Poppa once more, the anger still in his face, the belt just hanging there waiting for me. Momma still is tapping her shoe on the floor, her hands are still on her hips, and outside the sky is purple and black just like I will be soon. So I close my eyes and wait.

I open my eyes and see the image hasn’t changed, time hasn’t passed. My reality hangs in front of me, like the pink comforter wrapped around my legs, and I sit and stare. I sit and stare because I deserve to be here. I am a bad person who deserves to be punished until I learn not to be so spoiled anymore. I don’t even notice the others around me who sit like me staring at their own reality here in the gallery. I sit and I cry.

Friday, June 26, 2009

In One Word.....Moo!

It started out innocently enough two years ago in December. Our older cat Max, had just lost his zest for life, and was content to ride out his final years as nothing more than a stuffed cat that breathed. Pathetic, really considering how most cats are.

Our solution to breathing life back into Max was to find him a playmate. His personality was so easy going, he could tolerate a barking dog, pulling full force on a leash, and just walk casually by as if he hardly noticed. So we went to Petsmart on Pet Adoption day which was on a Saturday.

We knew in an instant this little, white, fluff ball had won all three of us over, when three audible sighs were heard in unison. My two daughters, and me. The sign on the cage was simple enough, lone survivor of a coyote attack. Ready? Now you hear Ahhhhhs! I mean how could you resist a sign like that? We checked the breed, Tabby/Siamese mix, female, and 12 weeks old.

Getting a kitten isn’t like getting a puppy. You don’t deal with the yelping and whining all hours of the night, when you are trying to remember why you wanted a puppy so bad in the first place. Perhaps that had to do with last nights viewing of Marley and Me?

So we paid $40.00 cash and took our kitten home. We hand carried her, since it seemed awful cruel to put her in a cardboard box, you know the ones with the holes punched into the sides for breathing? So we carried her to the car. I held her and passed her to Cait for the journey home. She was content, purring all the way, nestled safely in her arms.

We pulled into the garage, closed the door and prepared the cat for her new life in our home. We introduced her to Max, letting him sniff her. He did and went back to his nap sprawled out in the sun on the back of the couch. So that’s the zest? That is it?

We had to come up with a name. You know how that goes with kids. How about Snowy? Mittens? Fluffy? Just couldn’t see it. My daughter Kailee suggested Blue since she had blue eyes. We agreed it was fitting for her, so Blue it was!

Blue tried hard to make Max her new best friend, sneaking up on him whenever she found him sunning himself on the carpet catching the first rays of the morning. She would pounce on him and Max would run away. Blue thought this was an invitation to continue the tormenting, and following in close pursuit.

Over time, Max and Blue would play during the early hours of the morning. That is 2am for most of us, but prime play time for cats. We could hear them talking to each other in a bizarre game of Hide and Seek for cats. One would call, and then the other would answer, and then the pounding of paws up and down the stairs would commence. This would continue for about 30 minutes.

When we would wake in the morning, both of them were sacked out, exhausted from a full day’s worth of playing and were sleeping side by side on the carpet waiting for the sun to rise.

Everytime we tried to call Blue she would never come. Could be that most cats, when called don’t come. They never do. They come when they want, not when they are called. Blue was like that.

Upon countless times of me calling her, my hubby said, “She isn’t going to come. Either go get her and pick her up or forget it.”

I said, “ I could call her Moo and she wouldn’t come. Makes no difference to her what we call her.”

So I began to call her Moo. When the kids asked why I was now calling the cat Moo instead of Blue, I simply pointed to her ever-growing belly and said she kinda looks like a cow, so we should call her Moo. She eats like a cow too!

So that is how the cat got to be called Moo. She is amazing. Here is the way we usually find her most days. We figure the reason she sleeps so much isn’t so much the abundance of food she eats but all the growing hours she puts it. She is super soft, especially the white parts.

She doesn’t just lie down gracefully; she flops down with an audible Humph!

She spends hours watching the birds come and go each hour from our bird feeders, although she has never managed to catch any. We keep her safely from them behind the screen but we let her watch hours of Bird TV in her mind.

The hummingbirds in our backyard, love to hover just out of reach right about 3 feet above her head and just watch, whenever she spends her time outdoors in the backyard. She watches the butterflies come and go, and will catch any lizard that happens into our backyard. Perhaps that is why we haven’t seen any this year. She doesn’t kill them, just plays with them. Sick game of catch and release and catch again!

She loves the outdoors and will never attempt to climb the fence. She is content to just have this additional space to enjoy the outdoors without leaving.

On cold nights or mornings, she will jump up on our bed, and pull at the covers until we lift them up and she snuggles inside. She stays there until either it gets too warm or too boring.

She refuses to drink out of a bowl and has trained us all very well. She will wait in the bathroom until someone shows up, meow until we pick her up, and she puts her two front paws in the sink and waits for us to turn it on. We have to wait ‘til she is finished drinking from the faucet and then she leaves. By the way, she doesn’t fit in the sink anymore.She liked laying in there when she could. But not anymore! Too big, but it was funny to find her this way when you woke up in the morning! All curled up, wedged under the faucet just looking at you!

She will talk to her only if you stand in the kitchen and then you can ask her anything. One time, Caitlyn and I swear we heard her say “I love you” in a well thought out series of Meows!

Most days we make a game out of figuring out what part of animal she is mixed with, “Does she have a raccoon tail or a Lemur tail?”

“Is she part rabbit, Oh let’s call her a Cabbit!!”

Hubby thinks she is part otter since she prefers to lie on her back. It just think it’s the only way to get comfortable with a belly that big.

She isn’t really fat, either. When she was fixed, they didn’t do a great job with the stitching job, so she has a big flab of hanging skin beneath all that fur! Still we love her anyway. She keeps me busy in the morning, lying on my desk while I blog. She persists in hiding behind my monitor waiting for me to move the mouse. Life couldn’t get any better!

But most days she sleeps until we all head off upstairs to bed and then she will sleep under out bed until morning. So that my friends, is the story of the Moo!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Another week of reflection to think back on all the great things this past week has blessed me with. I think I am ready to list them. If you've never participated in Thankful Thursday's, it's the idea created from Sonya at Truth 4 The Journey. It's a great place to meet people just like yourself and be inspired at the same time. Join her blog and see if you aren't blessed.

Here is my blessings for this week.

1. I am inspired to begin writing my book, thanks to all your wonderful feedback on the Gallery and Picture posts. My daughter Cait was bugging me last night to begin writing it so she can read it as fast as I write it. I am so glad she has that much faith.

2. My brother is leaving the company my hubby is at, so the pressure of reporting to him will be gone as of Friday. He is a challenge to work with and for.

3. We were fortunate enough to be blessed with my 5 year old Mea this weekend. It's a play it forward thing for my daughter Cait, since when she was little and growing up, my sister would do things with her and now she gets to do it for her cousin over the weekend. We are planning pancake breakfast and getting her nails done.

4. I am really thankful for air conditioning. In recent weeks we have been baking in record highs here in the desert with our second wave of 100+ temperatures expected this weekend into next week. The down side of that is huge electric bills. The cost of living in the desert.

5. I am thankful God never gives up on me and uses personal tragedies for His gain.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

High 5's, Woo Hoos! Kudos! Props!

In other words, these words are good things. Ever notice how society changes the terms that we were growing up with. Oh thank goodness some of those terms still are not in practice any longer and considered way out of date.

Today's about Congratulations and A Job Well Done. I have to thank two beautiful woman who have passed along two awards while I have been so busy with summer and keeping the kids entertained. But I am back!!

In my absence, I have received the Honest Scrap Award from Andrea at Arise 2 Write. I am blessed because Andrea is faithful and will not only follow so many blogs, but she finds time to write her own daily post and comment on all the blogs she is following. Please take time to follow her if you aren't already and give back the daily encouragement she gives all of us.

In addition to the Honest Scrap award from Andrea, I was also grateful enough to receive it from Rosel at Off the Beaten Trek. I love this woman because she works so hard for the good of God's kingdom and she proves each day, you don't have to have a special ministry talent for God to use you. She shares heartwarming stories from the correctional facility in which she works. Please follow her and encourage her daily. Please lift both this vital woman up in prayer each day as well. We all need it during these trying times.

My other blessed award was from Andrea at Arise 2 Write as well, and this one is called Kreative Blogger. I love this one, because I have felt my life's direction being changed at this point and pulled into the direction of writing. My recent posts The Painting and The Gallery is something I hope to share with all of you on a weekly basis and would love the creative input, positive or negative. Will you all be my editors???

So here is the just of both these awards, In accepting this award, I need to do the following: 1) Say thanks and give a link to the presenter of the award. 2) Share "ten honest things" about myself. 3) Present this award to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me. 4) Tell those 7 people that they've been awarded HONEST SCRAP and KREATIVE BLOGGER and inform them of these guidelines in receiving it.

So here goes.

1. I love to write and have since I was old enough to do it. I have so many people tell me that I should do something with my gift so now I am going to try. Keep praying for me on that.

2. I have a cat named Moo, which I will be blogging about tomorrow, and I know you will enjoy that post as much as I have had a blast in writing it. She is my mini muse!

3. I love my hubby Steve more than life itself and honestly believe if soul mates are true, then I found mine 15 years ago! He has always been my best friend as well as my hubby. Life is just plain ol empty without him. He is my soul.

4. Caitlyn, my oldest, is a joy to watch grow. She has come so far on her own and with us giving her bigger wings to fly each year, she amazes us with the possibilities of how she is using them. She is my heart.

5. Kailee is my youngest and ray of sunshine. She never sees the bad in anything. Will always go out of her way to befriend anyone, and always cares for people in the purest of ways. She is my smile.

6. God is magnificent. He defines who I am on a daily basis and I am nothing without Him. He always provides for us and watches over us. We find pure joy in using whatever talents and gifts we have to bring Him alone the glory. He is my strength.

7. I hate to fly. Unless push comes to shove, you will need to both push and shove me to get me on the plane. It started when my oldest was about 2 and now unless it's a relatively short flight, I will be driving. Road trip anyone?

8. I have a list of 20 things I want to accomplish before I die. I had them up on my site, but since I have had so many Internet and computer issues, I have been deleting things to see if one thing in particular makes it stop. I will put them back up soon.

9. I am addicted to coffee. My mornings don't start without a large cup of caramel or chocolate coffee with flavored creamer, lots of sugar, so its really like a sugary beverage with a caffeine kick to it.

10. I love the mountains. My idyllic place to just hang out. I love listening to the wind blowing through the trees and utter silence found there. I hope God built my mansion deep in the woods with a view overlooking a lake. My version of Heaven.

So here are the recipients of the awards. I will keep it short.

1. Billy Coffey at What I Learned Today. At some point hopefully he will accept the awards we so graciously bestow upon him, and like I said, I have to have Coffey in the morning. He just spells his differently.

2. Warren at Family Fountain. This man is so amazing. He is a talented writer and minister and father all round into a well balanced man of God. Stop by and enjoy what we all see.

3. Steve at Gotta Have Faith. I have to pass along these to hubby because he is not only a first time blogger, but he is creative and a lot of what he comes up with is honest scrap, but in a great and positive way. Let's inspire them.

4. Two Finches at Girl in a Glass House. She writes with inspired creative that allows you to see the unseen in your everyday life.

5. Christy Rose at The Secret Life of An American Wife and Mom. I love this woman. She is such a ray of sunshine in everything she writes.

6. Jennifer at Through the Storms of Life. She takes you with her to ride out lifes' difficult storms. You realize you aren't alone when you have Jennifer with you.

7. Sarah Dawn at Splashin Glory! She is so motivating as she stops by and visits you to splash some of her loving waters all over you!

8. Lisa Shaw at Sharing Life with Lisa. This woman is my mentor. I want to grow up and be as happy and inspiring as she is to anyone and everyone who comes by her blog. Keep this woman in your prayers every day.

9. Yolanda at Higher Grounds. She is such a beautiful spirit inside. I have been a follower of Yolanda's since I began writing. Stop by and give her some congratulations and encouragement today.

10. Sharlyn at Dancin on Rainbows. I love coming to her blog. I can always find something to smile about for the rest of the day by stopping by.

Whew! Finally finished but in no way, have I captured all the people who inspire and motivate me. It would be all the people I follow and read their blogs daily if I can. Please stop by encourage them, become a dedicated follower, and the gift will just keep right on giving back. I love all these people dearly or I wouldn't follow them. If you want, scoop up any of these awards and run with them. Encourage someone who needs it today! Have fun and bless someone today!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Painting

In an average size room sits a woman. Around her lay the furnishings of her whole life. To the average observer, this would look like a person who hordes things. Never throws anything away. By the apparent disarray of things scattered about it would seem like she never did throw anything away.

The room appears to be a family room. There is a couch and a love seat placed end to end to form an "L" shape, with a coffee table overflowing with things that are spilling out onto the floor. There is a large window across from the couch. The curtains are pulled back and reveal a street just outside.

It is barren, no cars parked against the curb. There are other houses you can see just looking out the window. It appears empty since besides the lack of cars in the driveway, the lawn is brown and dry from lack of water. There is no movement in the house across the street. No curtains in the window, just the reflection of the house that I am staring out of. Almost like a mirror looking back on itself over and over.

There is a man leaving with looks like a bag of tools putting it into a truck. He is smiling. He must be leaving for work. The kids wave at him, the blond girl and the dark haired one, as they ride away on their bikes. It looks idyllic. Like a normal life.

Inside the house, it appears dark. There is a lamp on the table, but it is not turned on. Again more piles of books and boxes sit on the table next to the lamp.

On the walls are pictures framed in various colors and sizes. There is a picture of a girl, blond, blue eyes, smiling likes it a picture from school.

Another one is another girl, dark hair and eyes, smiling like the first only older. Another school picture perhaps.

There is a picture of a man and the same two children, posing for a silly family portrait. They are all dressed in similar colors and a fall like background makes it appear that they are outdoors, except there is no leaves or grass on the ground below them.

More pictures fill the room and behind them lay a dark and dingy grey color of paint. It is old and peeling much like someone who has just sharpened a pencil and the shavings remained curled up. It is like that in most places on the wall.

The woman is sitting in the midst of the family room. Sitting amongst the stuff piled high around her. Upon closer inspection you see, cards, lots of cards. Some with Happy Birthday written across the top, others have Anniversary printed on them. It appears that there are boxes upon boxes of these similar cards, packed neatly inside as if someone had saved each and every one because they hold memories. Memories of a time when it was given to commemorate a special occasion or time in this persons life. I count at least 10 of these boxes. Pictures scatter what should be the floor. These are pictures much like the ones that appear on the wall but much smaller, like ones you take from a camera. There are pictures of the same family along with the women in various places, all of them smiling back.

On the table sits a phone. A plain black phone, cordless, perhaps waiting for a call or to make answering the phone much easier since to get up from this mess and find it again would be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. There is a clock on the wall over the couch. It is wooden and about 3 feet around. It has what looks like roman numerals, to display the current time. Here it is 3:01pm. You could almost here the clock ticking, like the loud tick tock sound you hear when all is quiet in your home, except for the ticking of the clock. Ticking away the minutes from your life, one at a time.

The woman appears to be waiting. Waiting for something or someone. She is sitting on the floor with her blanket of pictures. Her cheeks appear to be stained by tears that are still sitting on the curves just waiting for more to appear so they can follow the path down her face, like the ones before those. There is a paper on the table, with the faint words marked at the top, "Things to Do." Numbers appears after that with a list of tasks. Some have been checked off, because a line is drawn through them. Laundry. Grocery Shopping. Water the Lawn. Feed the cat. Take out the trash. Take kids to the mall. Pick up present for hubby. Only the last one remains unchecked.

I notice the small details in the picture now. Ones I didn't quite notice before. That the house across the street is this same house because if you look quite hard enough you can see the reflection of the woman in it. One thing is different in the reflection is that the man leaving for work and the children riding the bikes are missing. They aren't in the reflection. The clock is still at 3:01pm and the tears haven't fallen just yet. It's a painting. A painting of a woman waiting for her family. A family that isn't coming. A husband that isn't returning. The woman is waiting for something that isn't coming. The painting has one word painted in red, across the bottom, capital letters. It simply says, "Selfish"

One thing catches my eye that I didn't see before, is that this home or room is sitting in a pit. I can tell because only the rim of the pit is above the room this woman sits in. Above that, only a faint glimmer of light. It is a room in the bottom of a pit.

This picture is the latest addition to the gallery. It's still wet from being painted. The woman sits looking at the picture sitting on the floor and this time, the tears do fall. They catch up with those that have gone on before them. They join the others on the floor of the gallery.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Gallery

I have heard that they have one in every city, although I have never seen one in mine. It is quite possibly because I have never really gone looking for it.

It stands in the heart of the city, comprising almost three city blocks. It’s an ordinary looking building, concrete in structure, no windows, and two stories tall. It looks like an industrial type building yet here it stands before me. The doors are massive, black structures that don’t seem to offer any signs of a person being welcome inside. The marquee above the doors in black letters spells out simply the words, “The Gallery”.

There is no place where you can walk up and see what’s inside, there are no flyers or bulletins outlining what the exhibit inside is. Just the plain block letters above the door. Listed in gray lettering, worn thin by the outside elements are the words Hours – Open every day, 24 hours.

Hmm I say to myself. I have never seen this before, never even read about it in the paper. Wonder just how long it’s been here. There are no lines waiting to get in, no one milling about outside the door except for me. Wondering if I should in fact take a peak at what’s inside. So I grasp the handle on the door expecting it to yield to my attempts to get inside, but it opens so easily and quietly, I have to catch myself from falling.

Inside I am blinded by the intense darkness from being outside in the summer sun too long. I shade my eyes and try to peer inside. I blink several times before my eyes finally begin to adjust to the lighting now before me.

Its dark for a gallery, I think to myself. I can see a small old man sitting at a circular desk in front of me. He is reading the paper but looks up when I walk towards him. He adjusts his glasses upon his nose and looks up at me as he puts his newspaper down. His hair is thinning on top but it still looks dark to me, not gray or white. I realize I must have his age wrong and smile at him. He just stares as if waiting for me to speak. I clear my throat since my words have left me.

“Is this gallery open for business?” I whisper to him, afraid I mustn’t disturb some of the people milling about.

He nods his head and gestures with his hand in a sweeping motion, an invitation for me to look and see for myself.

“Um, how much?” I ask as I pull my wallet from my purse.

He just shakes his head and motions for me to enter. He picks up his newspaper and begins to go back to his reading, smiling to himself as if amused by something I said.

It is odd standing here in this darkened gallery. There are no bright lights, no spotlights accenting certain pieces. It is a bit chilly though, as I believe all galleries are, so as not to damage the artwork. I find it odd however that this gallery feels different. It feels like you are being held by some cold icy hands as you begin to walk past the old man. I see him look at me, still smiling, and his paper still in his hands.

In the gallery, I notice are quite a few people. More than usual for a gallery of this type. It would appear that this was opening day, something announced in the papers, and thus the reason for so many people I see.

There are no benches or places to sit here in the gallery to reflect on a piece of art you might find interesting. Just walls and walls of pictures hung at eye level. There is little empty space on these walls, just mass amounts of pictures as far as the eye can see. They vary in size from the smallest canvas someone could paint on, the entire wall murals. I notice that each wall seems to have the same kind of layout, with pictures upon pictures cramming every nook and cranny of space.

This is different as most galleries have each piece highlighted by a light, framed with the artist’s name, so that each will stand out. Not here. They all are competing for the same attention.

I pull my jacket around me since the cold is still present and I wonder if they realize just how cold it is in here. I guess with so many people it’s hard to get the temperature right. There are people of all ages here, older people, men and women, small children and even a few rebellious looking teens. People look at you as you pass but there are no smiles or greetings of hello when you stand next to them.

I stop and begin to look at the pictures on the wall in front of me. Here the wall seems to stretch endlessly along the entire length of the building. Just open space filled with people standing about aimlessly looking at pictures and never moving. Just staring at the picture in front of them, which I find a bit odd.

The picture I am looking at is one of a man and woman hiding in the bushes. It appears as though they aren’t wearing any clothes but hiding in the bushes as if afraid to be seen. Their eyes look terrified and below them on the ground lies a red apple that has bites taken out of it. To the bottom right hand corner lies a snake coiled up, as if ready to strike. In smeared paint at the bottom lie the words, Adam and Eve.

Oh I smile as I look up. Interesting. I think to myself.

I move on the next painting, this one shows a boy standing in the field, with dark skies over head. It looks as if a storm is brewing above him and he is running for cover. In the grass below him is a club, covered in blood and a dirt mound that looks out of place here in the field. I squinted at the signature and read Cain.

I shake my head at this point and wonder if this is a Biblical art gallery. So I wander over across from where I am standing. Same variety of paintings, and yet these are a bit different.

I see a figure of a woman, lying in a bed, with no clothes on while a man is trying to comfort a woman standing in the doorway crying. The signature reads James. No date, just James. A man is standing in front of this picture just staring at it in silence. He is a much older man, but looks similar to the man in the painting.

I continue on. I see people mulling about in silence staring at pictures on the walls before them. A picture of a woman lying in a bed, while a doctor operates on her and a nurse is holding her arms down. In the background a container is sitting on the counter with something inside, but it’s hard to see what. The name on this painting is Wendy. A man sits on the floor with tears in his eyes looking at the painting. He doesn’t look up when I move past him.

Another painting shows a family sitting on the curb crying while a man is pounding a sign into the ground in front of there house, and boxes upon boxes sit on the ground outside. The sign reads, “Bank Foreclosure”. A woman is crying and wiping her eyes staring at this painting.

Another painting shows a teenager, sitting in her room, clothes strewn about, door closed and lights out. A handwritten note lies on the bed above her. She is holding a razor blade just above her wrists looking up at the ceiling crying. The name is Lisa. There is no one staring at this painting that looks like Lisa, just an older man and woman lying on the floor mesmerized by the painting in front of them.

I begin to realize what the content of this gallery is and who the people are. I begin to understand why there are so many pictures and why it’s so dark and cold inside. This gallery is filled with sadness, depression, loneliness, and despair. It’s dark because it lacks hope of something better.

I turn to leave at this point grabbing my coat and holding it even tighter. I feel almost panicked at this time and find it difficult to breathe even though the icy air continues to reach out to me. I reach the old man at the desk almost knocking him over.

He stops and smiles. “Leaving so soon?” he inquires, putting his paper down once more. “You have pictures here as well, did you see them?”

My eyes widen with horror and I push past him anxiously struggling to reach the doors that lead out of here.

It is there above the door I see a faded plaque. I have to squint my eyes in the darkness just to see it but it reads, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. ~ Matthew 12:20 NIV”

This strikes me as odd as it can only be read on the way out, not on the way in. It can only be read if your looking for it, not rushing to get out or simply walking with your head down as some people are.

The old man waves at them smiling, inviting them to “Come back soon, we are always open!”

I push against the black doors in front of me which don’t seem to want to let me out, but I say a small prayer softly to myself and find that they open quite easily.

I stand outside on the sidewalk. There are no people around. No cars parked in front of the building. Just the same plain old sign that reads, “The Gallery”. I know now what that dismal dark place is.

We are have all lived our lives up to this point as long as we are still among the living. We have grown over the years that have tried to beat us down and wear us thin. We have come through trying times and personal tragedies and wonder how is it possible to keep moving on? Some of us are down right paper thin right about now. Watch out or you may blow away during the next big gust of wind.

I am often amazed at just how much people can take before they snap. I mean really break, not just in two pieces but multiple ones. Splintered in fact! Like sawdust. Wow that sounds dismal doesn’t it?

Yet at some point in all of our lives, we have been at that breaking point. We have teetered on the edge of the abyss leading into the deepest, darkest pit of despair. Some have even fallen into those depths and have sat at the bottom, staring upwards into the pinpoint of light that lies way above them. At that light, there is hope. However, in the dark pit, with no possible way out, that hope is just as well lost with trying to escape the pit.

The pit can be called anything you wish. Divorce number three. Lose of a child you spent years waiting to have. Love affair of an unfaithful spouse. Marriage in ruins. Loss of a job you spent a lifetime in servitude for waiting for a promotion only to find a lay off instead. Loss of the family home, whether by flood, fire, or inability to make the payments. It can even be all of the above. Some not as severe as others or some much worse that what I have written above.

The picture it paints is one none of us would like to look at. It’s the place some of us have been. It’s the place others of us are in even now. We can only wish to burn that picture, to rip it to shreds, to bury it in a landfill lost for all time.

Yet it’s always there. The dismal painting of despair and depression. A painting of blackness that goes on forever and ever. A painting with no bright colors only black and shades of gray. We all have painted that picture for ourselves.

We have even had help from the enemy to not only put the paper on the easel but provide the paint and brushes to use. Not so encouraging words, but words of “You’ll never be good enough” “You’ll never amount to anything.” “Nothing good will ever come from you.” “You’re a failure.” “You are a loser, a liar, a fake.”

Tears always accompany us when we are painting. We begin to believe the lies in our head and the painting begins at a furious pace. Before long, we are done. In less time than it would take an accomplished artist, we have our painting complete. Ready to hang in the gallery. It’s a gallery so big but also one that no one wishes to visit. It’s always open. It never closes.

The gallery is always full of people who can’t seem to find the strength to leave. Some have even chained themselves there unable to move, unable to lift their heads.

It’s a sad place to be. No one ever wants to be there. No one ever wants to go back either.

But there is that plaque over the door that no one ever reads, and most simply wouldn’t understand it if they had read it. It reads, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. ~ Matthew 12:20 NIV”

God will never let anything happen to us that He can not bring us out of. If you have ever seen a wick on a candle that has been blown out, it smolders awhile. But God will not snuff it out.

That is your unique situation. God will never let your circumstances push you past the point of no return. There is always hope. There is always God. He is always there.

Our circumstances, our situations, our trials of life, or personal losses are all like the smoldering wick. Something has blown out our fire. Our will to go on. Our will to survive. Our will to even try.

God is waiting. He is right next to you, standing so close as to whisper your name. Are you listening?

He is the master painter. He can change how your picture is painted. What was once gloomy, dark and black, is now filled with so many brilliant colors of light that they shoot from the painting much like a Thomas Kincaid painting would. Only God’s is 100 times more beautiful.

We are always in it and so is He. He is there, right next to us, lifting us up if we have fallen. He is there to wrap His loving arms around us and comfort us in our pain and loss. He has been there. He has felt it all. The pain, the loss, the betrayals, the loss of fellowship, harsh words spoken in anger, the loss of friends and loved ones, the loss of a home, even temporarily.

Won’t you just let God remove your painting from that gallery and completely paint you a new one? A picture really is worth a thousand words, what will yours say?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Ah another week has come and gone and it's time to put a bit of perspective on things. Time to reflect on the blessings that have come my way this week. If you haven't participated in Thankful Thursday and would like to, hop on over to Sonya's blog at Truth 4 the Journey, pick up the picture, write your own post and come back to her site and link yours there.

1. I am thankful for being wise enough to take time out of my day when I hear God speak to me, and heed His words. I am thankful to be able to hear His voice, but only if I am willing to listen.

2. I am thankful for my hubby, who has made an awesome dad to our kids. He is not only a great father but a step father as well to my oldest daughter. I often wondered when I married this man, just how he would be as a father to our kids. God is amazing, because He has blessed our family so well with Steve.

3. I am thankful to my blogging community to provide an outlet not only for being able to jot down things from my heart, but God's wisdom as well. I think we work well together and He is such an awesome boss to work for!

4. I am grateful for my ability to have my family that teaches me the simplest ways to continue to express love and gratitude for one another. Sometimes, its the way they will hunt down the neighbors dogs for hours cause they got out and would hate to have them return and be sad. So they scour the neighborhood for hours, return the dogs home and fix the fence. Nothing asked in return, just thinking of others instead of themselves. We need more examples on that in our days.

5. My cat Moo. I will blog about her soon, but she keeps me sane. She keeps my blood pressure way down and constantly keeps me laughing. Reminds me to be like a child a whole lot more.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Joy of Building Things

When I was a child, so long ago it seems, I loved building things. I was quite the creative child if I do say so myself. I could create anything from cardboard boxes, old, spare pieces of lumber we came across in the garage or even a sheet with some rope, could become something fantastic and futuristic with my imagination.

We had some things to build with as well, building blocks, some that were colored and some that were plain old wood, of all different shapes and sizes. It seems like you could never have more than enough to build all the kinds of stuff only a kid's imagination could whip up.

We had Legos but not that many and certainly not like the kits that they have now. We just had the primary colors with lots of black and white pieces of rectangles, squares, and plastic windows. We never had circles or shapes with curves, trees or people, you had to invent those. But Legos were expensive and growing up when I did, with both my parents divorced when I was 7. I lived with my mom and brother. My mom worked two jobs just to make ends meet. We never saw her much, but it did give us lots of creative free time to play. So we made due with what we had.

Some Christmas' we got Tinker Toys. Now that was super fun, because you could build things that moved and if you added those to your starter collection of Legos and building blocks, you have a pretty large pool of resources to build things with. I loved making things that moved. Something about taking inanimate pieces and putting them together in such ways to make them mobile, really did wonders to impress me. There wasn't anything I couldn't create.

Lincoln Logs were next but you could only go so far with those. Just your standard log cabins, or log mansions, or log outhouses. You get the picture. It was a square box composed of logs stacked interlockingly upon one another , til you got it just the right height and you could add the green plastic roof.

Imagination is a great thing for the mind. It allows you to see possibilities in things that may not be really present. It allows you creativity to make something from nothing. It allows you to take a bunch of colored pieces of wood and make them into whatever your hearts desire is.

God is kinda like that. He made the world from nothing. Don't even know where He began and with what materials He used, other than the spoken word and poof! Instantly world. Instant Earth! Instant Universe. Instant Life.

I wrote this blog today while I was cleaning up my bedroom. I told you yesterday that ideas from blogging don't come when I have a pen and paper handy to jot down all of God's great insights. I was in the midst of dealing with hubby's work situation in which they are expecting him to do all things during all hours of the day. So many times I wanted to give not only my two cents worth, but unload my bank account to him.

Not taking it out on him of course, but expressing my thoughts about what a physical toll it was taking on him. He hasn't slept in days. Then I heard the voice that I should be listening to a whole lot more, and God spoke. He told me about how much I loved to build things with blocks when I was a child. How amazing things like bridges are built. How you can join two things together with such a great distance between them, even oceans, but it's possible if you believe hard enough and are willing to put forth the effort. It can happen, just like magic. Just like the things you built when you were a child, you can still continue to build things and watch the magic happen.

God gave me this verse today. "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. " (Ephesians 4:29 NIV). God basically gave it to me paraphrased, which was, "you have two choices. You can use your words to build someone up or you can use those same words to tear them down. The choice is up to you. "

Hmm, God is wise isn't He? I chose to support hubby and let him receive wisdom from God. I would maintain my place in this marriage and offer only words of encouragement, because like I told you before, I love to build.

Sometimes watching things fall apart is fun too, but not at the expense of someone's feelings. Kind of like someone knocking over what you just built. Not so fun!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Home of the Future

I am sure if you're reading this post you are probably thinking about our future home in Heaven, well not quite. Not yet anyway.

Often times ideas for blogging comes at the wierdest of moments, like in the shower, reading a book, sitting in church (sorry God just listening to more of your words at all the same time!), or driving in the car. The idea just hits you! Bamm, like Emeril would say!

Yesterday, I was driving in my car to pick up my daughter from the airport and my hubby and I were talking about different blogs we read, something interesting we heard and how do ideas come about.

Then things change and life comes into the picture. We started to discuss all the things we had to do and have yet to do around the house so we can sit back and enjoy the weekend. That's when I got my idea.

I remember watching the show the Jetsons when I was a kid, and thinking at the time, man the future is going to be so great when we get older, technology is going to kick in and machines will do the work and we can relax and have more time to ourselves.

Reality check. 2009. Sure some things have gotten a bit better with age, like communication, cell phones, Blackberry's, computers and virtual working environments, but the home is still just as stagnant.

Microwaves? Sure these cook our food in less time, but what about the quality? I remember when someone said you could microwave bacon and it would taste just as good, and then we tried it and it tasted like fake bacon that was rubbery? What happened to the crisp? And why is it all curled up in a ball? Oh that's right you need the device that you have to use to keep the bacon flat? Right? You can never microwave bread, because even though it starts out soft, as seconds accumulate on the clock, the bread begins to harden into something no human can bite into.

Forget the prepackaged microwave foods now too, because thanks to the plastic and plastic wrap that most of these come packaged in, we can't eat them if we cook in them. The chemicals in said plastic now, can become so absorbed in our foods and cause toxic poisons to build up inside our bodies, that we must remove the food and place it on a plate and heat it up. Again, where is the convenience in that and now I have more trash that must be washed out before I can recycle it?

I'm sorry but short of heating up water, I really like the quality of my food cooked the old fashioned way, in the oven or Bar B Que.
Then the invention of the convection oven. It's suppose to make your food cook faster and more thoroughly than a microwave using less power. Um yeah right. I bought into that lie, when our oven in our home needed replacing. You are going to upgrade to the latest model right? Sure, that's why there are commercials for home improvement stores and the financing is just right.

So I bought mine thinking I could cook our turkey for Thanksgiving in 30 minutes and have it taste like I had been slaving away at the oven for days. Um, Not! The only thing a convection oven does is lower your temperature by 25 degrees and you still cook it the same amount of time, but you have to know which rack you need to use to make it cook just perfect. Huh? That's an innovation in food preparation and speeding up my life? Let's just order out!

So as far as the food preparation goes, nothing has impressed me so much to make me fork over my hard earned cash. Nope microwaves haven't improved either just made them more complicated with more buttons to push to cook or should I say "heat your food?"

So where did the Jetson age go? Robots??
Well all the ones I have seen are great, but they are really slow. Too slow for me in my fast paced life. Even the Rumba, the robot vacuum has issues. I mean who has the time to watch this thing scoot all over your floor for hours when in 15 minutes, I would be done. Now I have to watch where I am walking to avoid this thing running all over my floors, and it doesn't do corners. It's a round robot, how can it do corner cleaning?

I saw an infomercial last night for a ultra violet vacuum that is supposed to sanitize your carpets while cleaning them. Basically it's a vacuum with a light on the bottom, is all it is. They don't even list the price because if they were to list it in the commercial you wouldn't buy it. So it's a tease offer. I mean what mom won't want to sanitize your carpets while vacuuming? Where has my head been at all day?

I am still waiting for that future. The future the makes our lives so much easier. The self cleaning house. When it senses a crumb hit the floor it's vaporized. Instantly sanitized. No more bending or stooping. The entire house cleans itself. When you step out of the shower, it goes through a self sanitizing stage and cleans itself ready for the next person. No more foggy mirrors in the bathroom anymore or the irritating humidity from the last person that was in there. Nope instantly perfect!

Windows are made of stuff so amazing, nothing sticks to it. No dust, no fingerprints, nothing. They look great all the time. Even if you wet them, they dry perfectly clear. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if NASA doesn't already have this in use on the Space Shuttle! Time to share!

The mirrors anywhere in your home, is coated with the same stuff as the windows. Nothing is my biggest pet peeve than smudges in my mirror.

Ah but if all this were to happen, where would the good folks that make things like Swiffers, and Pledge, and Clorox go? Where would products like Febreeze end up? Perhaps only God knows.

After all my home in Heaven is where I will finally find peace from all house cleaning and sanitizing of counter tops and bathrooms. Germs won't be an issue and dust, well, I don't believe dust will be an issue in the future. I can retire my vacuum to the closet once and for all.

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's All In A Day's Work

You think getting up early each day, getting ready for work, and heading out to face traffic each day is tough? Ever wonder what the life of a super hero must be like? Sure we can always imagine have the extraordinary super powers and being able to save the day from some unworthy bad guy, but what is it really like?

You have no normal life. Take for instance an super hero you know and try to view their so called average day. There is no such thing as a normal day at the office for them. Oh they try and pull it off, but ultimately somewhere, some place, their super powers are needed and off they must go. I mean superman really doesn’t have to worry about getting too old to take the jar off the peanut butter does he?

No more privacy. Who do you tell? Your spouse and kids? Family and friends? No, you must safe guard your super powers from everyone because if you honestly told anyone, they wouldn’t believe you until you had to show them. Then they would be asking you to do all kinds of stuff for them. Selfish whims would come into play, depending on your super powers. Of course then there are those who would want to be your friend merely for the sake of saying they know you! Ah see how you can’t really trust anyone?

You need a sidekick. Someone whom you can really trust. An ally! Someone who doesn’t see their needs in front of your own, but one that would do anything for you. Your job may be lonely but you don’t have to do it alone? What would your sidekick be?

Lonely! Life as a super hero is lonely. Especially cause people don’t understand what its like to be you, to be different, to have super powers. You have more enemies than friends who wish to torture you for making their plans go south. Someone would always trying to figure out just how to get rid of you or what your weakness is.

Danger, Danger! Your family and close friends would always be in some sort of mortal danger from the bad guys that are seeking to do you harm. In the course of your seemingly normal day, most likely you would have to save someone you know from danger. I mean that’s the key advantage to all super hero movies, is that someone you love must at some point, be in peril. Their very life is in your hands!

Wait Just a Minute. You don’t even have time to get comfortable anymore. Just when you sit down to call it a night, the light in the sky begins to flash or the red hot phone rings next to your bed. Time to go!

There is always enough time. Even when the red LED lights are flashing on the bomb, or the train is about to run out of track, there will always be time for that one last share look into each others eyes or for that one final kiss to happen!

Every day would be different. You never know what you would have to save the world from today, meteors from outer space, alien attacks, kidnapping, global disasters that keep the very lively hood of all who live here on the brink???

Your Real Job! Your boss would constantly hate you, always push for you to do more, never give you that deserving promotion, and threaten to fire you when you have to dash out the door unexpectedly. Then again, once you save the city from catastrophe one final time, they will ultimately try and take all the credit.

Mulligans and Second Takes! You will always have the opportunity to do it all over again in a sequel and once more this whole situation listed above with try that much harder to do you in once again. Your wounds will heal, time will begin to pass but somewhere, someplace, someone is plotting your doom. Ah a super heroes life is never done!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Love Ya Award

I was super surprised last night to find just before I went to bed, that I had received a beautiful "Love Ya" award courtesy of Andrea at Arise 2 Write. Andrea and I have been fellow bloggers/followers since I began my journey, so it was such an honor to have her nominate me. If you haven't stop by Andrea's site, please take the time to do so. She is so amazing because she always stays in touch and never forgets to leave you a little bit of inspiration when she stops by your site.

So here's what you must do upon accepting this award is to post the following about the award:

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

So here are my award winners:

1. Gotta Have Faith since it's my hubbies first attempt at blogging, I wanted to pass along the feeling of achievement and recognition. I love him daily and hope you will find my love and happiness by visiting his site.

2. Stop by and visit Billy Coffey at What I Learned Today. Once you're there, you may as well follow, because you will fall in love with what this man writes from his heart everyday. He is my writing mentor. If I can become half as great as he is, I would be more than happy.

3. Ms. Charlene at Bring On The Rain. This is one of my newest stopping by blogs and I love what she has to write. You will be inspired each day you read her blog! God has laid a mighty hand on her heart.

4. Raye Ann at Heart of the Home. Another fairly new person I have been following of lately and found so much warmth and love here, that she truly is deserving of this award.

5. Martha at Fly Away Birdie! Her sense of humor keeps me on my toes and keeps me coming back for more. Hope you enjoy following her as much as I do.

6. Dawn at Dawn's Country Cottage. I love following along with Dawns daily adventures of watching her kids grow and having her grandson come by for visits. It's truly amazing. Thanks for sharing Dawn.

7. Lisa Shaw at Sharing Life with Lisa. This woman truly is the Proverbs 31 woman! If you ever want to feel the power of God working in someone's life, it blasts forth from her site! She is so blessed by the power of God.

8. Christy at The Secret Life of a American Wife and Mom. Christy is right up there with Andrea. We join the same blogs and comment each others posts as often as we can. She is such a bright life in my life. Thanks for always being there!

There are so many others that are deserving of this award as well so if you want snatch it and go, spread the love around and make someone's day by sharing it with them and passing along a little note of thanks. You'll be glad you did!

Friday, June 12, 2009

For the Love of Teddy Bears

Growing up who hasn't had the privilege of having a Teddy Bear or some kind of stuffed animal?

There is a certain appeal to one when you see one that catches your eye.

Not everyone likes the same kind of teddy bears either. Some like them a bit on the firm side with no so much give when you squeeze them, others like extra soft and squishy ready to take whatever you throw at them.

Some like their fur soft, others like it a bit more course, still others want to be able to style their fur and put ribbons and bows in it if you like it.

Some like it to have a gut, like it has eaten the world's supply of honey and is ready for a nice, long, winters nap.

Some like theirs with movable arms and legs.

Some like more newer bears that are in tune with today's' generation, like Build a Bear style and wearing clothes and shoes.

Others prefer no clothes at all, the more old fashioned kind.

What I think really attracts all of us, is the eyes! Some are buttons, some are just bits of thread, others have some that are so life like, you'd swear you just saw them blink.

The eyes have it!

I have had many teddy bears over the years and I have a fondness for the ones that look like they have been around since God created the Heavens and the Earth.

They have seen it all, life's ups and downs.

I like mine more on the super squishy side with a big over sized belly. I prefer fur that appears like it has seen a lot of tears and late nights in bed. You get the picture.

A teddy bear is our companion late at night when the shadows of the room grow long and get a bit creepy.

They lie there quietly next to us, allowing us to snuggle next to them and hide. They surely won't give us away.

They are there with us, when life hands us some unexpected tragedy, and never ending tears begin to fall across our cheeks and onto the worn fur of our warm friend we are holding super tight. They speak no words but the comfort they provide a child is priceless.

Teddy Bears never say no to playing the craziest of games, they attend shopping trips, airplane rides, and visits into the park to play with other children if you let them.

Teddy bears just know when they are needed and will sit patiently where ever they are left until we need them again.

God is like our giant teddy bear. He comforts at all times. Loves to be with us in our moments of joys and sorrows. He is always waiting for us to come to Him and pick Him up and involve Him in our lives once more. He comes to us in whatever form appeals to us the most, but most of all he loves us unconditionally and always forgives us when we ask for it. God has been there from the beginning and will be there all the way to the end. Just for us, because He loves us like that!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Ah here it is, Thursday morning again and time to spend thinking about the things I am most thankful for this week.

1. Thankful that God forgives. Too many times throughout my day, I find myself in need of so much improvement and at the beginning of each day is another opportunity to try again. I am thankful I get another opportunity to be a better person today.

2. I am thankful I have a working computer and internet access. It keeps me connected to family and friends even though time keeps up apart at the present, people working and carrying on throughout their day, but the internet gives you the opportunity to reach out and say, I am still thinking about you!

3. I am thankful that 4 of my nephews finals are out of the way. I spent 12 hours yesterday helping him cram for a 500 point History final, so I was showing him how important reviewing past quizzes and using reviews can really help you pass without all that memorizing. 2 more to go and we can put that baby to bed! :)

4. I am thankful I have a family to love and care for. Too often I take them for granted. That I will see my hubby sometime during the day, and at some point my daughter will rise from her slumber and grace us with her appearance. Since school is technically out for her, sleeping in is a must. I am thankful I can make them meals, clean the house, and keep things in order so it's one less thing for them to worry about.

5. I am thankful for freedom. I feel living here in the United States we forget how fortunate we are. For hundreds of years, people have sacrificed so much to give us the freedoms we know take for granted. We can wake up and not have to worry about bombs or missiles possibly taking out our home. We can walk the streets and go to the malls, where first of all we can buy what we need and it's available. Especially clean water and fresh food. Thank you God for letting me live in a country that has been blessed by Your goodwill and provisions that I can call home each night. Thank you for watching over us and keeping us safe. Thank you for my freedom.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Update to Hubby's Blog!

Thanks for all of you that decided to follow my hubby's blog. He recently changed his blog address so I don't think you are getting his posts. Can you all delete him and re add him. Poor thing, I see him post blogs but no ones commenting on them except me, until I realized what he had done and possibly why no one is commenting.

If you need his blog site again I have linked it here at Gotta Have Faith. I tell you, he is going to give me a run for my money when it comes to competing at our writing abilities. I think he is great!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Questions for God

We all know that the only person that has all the answers to life's questions is God.

He alone is omnipotent and omnipresent. He can be everywhere, know anything and take care of every situation.

I know often times people wish for those God like powers, something similar to Bruce Almighty, but few I honestly believe would like all the responsibility that it would take to manage such power.

That is why it remains with God alone.

You've heard the saying many times I am sure, "that with great power comes great responsibility?" I think it would be too much for any man to handle alone.

Think if every thought you had was to instantly happen, or just the flippant phrase out of your mouth in anger were to miraculously come true.

Sure we could instantly fix it with a new set of words but the consequences would be more than the human mind could process.

I do find it interesting to reflect on the possibility of having a one on one, 'heart to heart' conversation with God some day. To ask any question and have the answer freely given.

Here are some questions I would love to have the answers to?

1. What ever happened to the dinosaurs since we know the Earth really isn't as old as scientists claim?

2. How did you make the Grand Canyon? (I would love to see his Planet Earth DVD series) :)

3. Why weren't humans given the ability to learn to fly?

4. Why did you create angels?

5. What was your greatest creation?

6. What has caused you the most pain?

7. Why did you create only 7 continents and 1 really large expanse of sea?

8. Why did you create night time if in the future heaven there won't be any?

9. Which animal was your favorite and why?

10. What is your favorite fruit and why?

These are just some of the things I would love to chat about with God, and I would love to know yours as well. If you were given a day to sit with God and ask Him anything, what would you ask?

Please share and comment!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Child Like Parents

When God said that we have to become like children to enter the gates of heaven, I don't think He meant it literally. I think that we have to become childlike in our faith and beliefs where we believe without question and are nice to one another and easy to forgive.

Remember what it was like growing up and you got into a fight with your "best friend?" Oh sure you said some angry things but we never swore or cussed each other out, or even raised a finger to harm them. We usually said some mean things to cause pain, and then we wouldn't talk to them for a day or so. The next day, one of us would eventually call the other to ask them to do something, and it was like nothing happened. Sure apologies would come out, casually but we knew these were nothing major.

Flash forward to the present when I am talking about the "new child like qualities" in adults. These are not positive by any means.

These are the child like qualities of parents who think no rules apply to them, they can do what they want, and when they want and they answer to no one. If any one so much as questions them, Oh are they going to get an earful.

These are the very same parents that raise their children to the same levels as themselves. No rules or guidelines, no consequences for their actions, just do whatever you want, and if anyone questions you, we sue!

Huh?? Did you catch that?

We were involved in a situation last night, where the manager of an establishment for families had to confront an 18 year old who insisted on using foul language and deadly threats, when asked to leave this place due to his rude behavior and comments. The manager simply asked him to leave.

Suddenly phone calls were made, other teens were involved and this situation soon escalated to a level no one wanted. As the 18 year old was walking out of the building, he kicked open the door to the building and hit a 6 year old girl knocking her some 4 feet back.

This is where it gets ugly, the manager can no longer deal with the situation with the little girl because now this 18 year old is out of control. Parents are arriving to pick their children up and are asked to leave immediately. The police are called.

The 18 year olds mother now gets involved threatening the employees of the place with lawsuits for harming her child. Did you catch that? He was politely asked to leave and didn't. No one touched him, the security guards merely walked him outside to prevent the escalation from getting out of hand indoors and injuring kids. This parent now arrives with 4 other males intent on a fight and continues to spew profanities on all the employees and any one else involved.

The police still haven't shown up, but eventually do but it now has become a spectator sport of sorts with people standing around waiting to see what will happen. The 18 year old is still threatening the manager with bodily harm and even taunts him with trying to hit him. "Go on and just try and hit me!" The mother is still swearing at everyone else and teens are almost coming to punches with other teens.

Finally more parents arrive and few begin to discipline their kids for their rude and disrespectful behavior, use of inappropriate language, and making threats on other kids there.

The father of the injured girl shows up and isn't the slightest bit pleased with how their evening has come to an end, and he is also an FBI agent. NICE!!

Let's just say he put things into perspective with the 18 year old teen, his mom and her four male friends. He isn't the least bit happy his daughter has been hurt and is going to handle things quite a different way with them. He doesn't hold the manager and employees responsible for the injury to his daughter, he is holding the mom and her son responsible.

What chaps my hide is where does the mom think that her sons actions are OK? She doesn't reprimand him but reprimands everyone else for telling her son what to do and what not to do. It's her right. As far as she is concerned, he can do whatever he wants, says whatever he wants and can go where ever he wants.

Let's just say he and his mom aren't welcome at this family place any longer. They are trying to weed out the bad elements and keep it family friendly. I don't understand and can't tolerate bad parents. Now the establishment is having to become even more strict in their rules before opening the doors again at a cost to them.

They set horrible examples to their kids which we other parents have to deal with. They see nothing wrong with their actions or their child's. These parents need serious help. Serious help!

What's even worse is that these children all come from broken homes, and have already found there way into crimes and jail. Yet they keep lashing out at everyone. Everyone else is to blame for their circumstances. These are the parents and kids that refuse to take responsibility for their own actions.

Even though I have written this blog to protect the identities of those involved, please pray for this manager, let's call him B that God will strengthen him and will move in powerful ways to create a place where families and kids can have an evening out without this type of element being there. Please pray that God will severely deal with their teens and their parents and allow Him to work mightily in their lives to bring about a more positive change.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Movie Review - Night at the Museum 2

I thought I would deviate a bit and share our most recent movie outing with all of you. You can skip it if your not interested. We took our youngest daughter to view the Night at the Museum 2, since she absolutely loved the first one. She is a strong student in History and seeing the characters come to life on scene that she has read about is priceless to her.

The movie premise is that the old museum that Ben Stiller's character used to work at is being updated with newer technology and so the old stuff is on its way to storage but without the special plate that brings them to life, so they are going away for good. I won't spoil it any further but here are some things we liked.

She loved seeing Teddy Roosevelt since we just finished of her History class with his presidency as well as seeing the soldiers from ancient Egypt. I love that period of time!

It's a great movie to take your kids too, as the violence isn't really there, the most is when they push the bad guy into the gate back to his ancient time and of course, the classic scenes of smacking monkeys and Ben Stiller!

It's wonderful to meet Amelia Earhart finally, and see just how adventurous she really was! It was a positive role model for our daughter since she proves women can do just about anything!

Classic movie to see if you can still catch it, all your old favorites are there too, like Rex and the Easter Island statue, yes he still wants Gum Gum! He finally gets it and chaos results. Definitely one we will add to our video collection.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sea of Stars

I have always been fascinated by the night sky. The infinite amount of space and the never ending curiosity of what lies beyond what the human eye can see.

I love the night time!

I love sitting someplace high above the city, like on a mountain road that rises up and allows you to gain a birds eye perspective on the world below.

You are simply mesmerized by all the beautiful lights of the city, the glowing heat rising up into the cool night sky, peace!

It's quiet there. I used to drive a mountain pass everyday to and from work, so it often times afforded me the luxury to spend some time, just stopping by the side of the road and looking over the city below.

Below where the chaos of a busy day was nearing an end. Where somewhere parents were reading a bedtime story to a sleepy child in bed, or where a parent was coming home from a very long day at work, to the arms of his loving and grateful family! "Daddy's Home!"

Then above like tons of watchful eyes, the stars begin to appear. First you spot one or two, the brightest of them all for the evening and as the sun continues to settle on the horizon, more would join them.

You don't see them very much if you live in the city or close to the coast due to the cloud cover or the lights from the city blind you from seeing them, but they are still there. Still watching.

I am glad that I live in the High Desert and our city is relatively small in comparison to others, down the hill, as we call it. To a more populated place.

Here in the desert, there aren't many city lights so our skies remain dark at night. It's a lot quieter here too! You don't have to drive very far, to be in complete darkness and free from any noise.

It's just you and the sky. Just you and the heavens above.

Here there are millions upon millions of stars. Too many to ever begin counting. If you stop and just stare they begin to flicker. Twinkle! If you're lucky, you can see one fall! Make a wish! Hurry!

It gives you the opportunity to see the beauty of what God created when he separated the earth from the sky and added all the stars. It's simply beautiful.

Something that will only last here in this time, while we are on Earth. There won't be a night time in heaven. Only eternal light from God.

So I enjoy this, because God made it. Made it perhaps and added the stars and moon so we wouldn't be so afraid of all the dark. The inky blackness that seems to go on forever, if it weren't for the stars.

At some point though the sun rises and the stars remain out of our sight until the moon returns to the night sky once again. The stars are always there.

I wrote this post because each night I lay in bed and look at the ceiling like most of us do.

We lay and bed and think of all the things that happened that day, or what we need to do tomorrow. Or perhaps we worry about things that are on the horizon, but may never happen, so it keeps us up.

I lay here watching the stars.

I can see hundreds of them above my bed.

I can really see them and they last until the morning.

I can see them because my hubby put them there. As a surprise!

One night as I turned off the light at bedtime, thinking I would see nothing more than the light on our DVD player, I was surprised and delighted to have my own personal night time sky to view each night.

He added hundreds of glow in the dark stars to my ceiling. They are so transparent that you don't notice them during the day, you only see them at night.

He created this just for me, so it's not so dark anymore.

The stars are watching over you.

Just like when God created the night time sky outside for me, my hubby, created one inside just for me, to remind me how much he loves me and cares for me. Just like God does for each one of us.

Bet you'll never look at the night time sky the same again!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Cure for Disappointment

As you all know I love Max Lucado's writings. I had to pass along what I received today and hope it inspires you as much as it inspired me.

The Cure for Disappointment
by Max Lucado

Don't ask God to do what you want. Ask God to do what is right.

When God doesn't do what we want, it's not easy. Never has been. Never will be. But faith is the conviction that God knows more than we do about this life and he will get us through it.

Disappointment is cured by revamped expectations.

I like that story about the fellow who went to the pet store in search of a singing parakeet. Seems he was a bachelor and his house was too quiet. The store owner had just the bird for him, so the man bought it. The next day the bachelor came home from work to a house full of music. He went to the cage to feed the bird and noticed for the first time that the parakeet had only one leg.

He felt cheated that he'd been sold a one-legged bird, so he called and complained.

"What do you want," the store owner responded, "a bird who can sing or a bird who can dance?"

Good question for times of disappointment.