Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Adjusting to a New Normal

So I am not even sure what the numbers of days we have been requested to stay home, but it really feels like time is not passing at all. Most days I have to think about what day it is, which is something that I hadn't considered before. I knew my schedule based on Steve working from home or traveling and now that his company has asked for no travel, it seems like the days are all running together.

I was never much of a TV watcher before either, finding my love for reading was better used than mindlessly watching programming in front of a television set. Even that isn't helping. Yesterday was my first time venturing out into the world to drop off packages to FedEx, and I was still surprised that the city looked normal. Cars were out and about and you remember seeing pictures of places like China and Italy looking like ghost towns, but not here, even after mandatory shutdown orders for California.

Small non essential businesses like clothing shops, nail salons and others were closed, but everything else was open. Some fast food places had caution tape out around the perimeters of the doors to keep people from coming in, forcing them to utilize drive thru as an option to keep them open. Yet banks, restaurants, gas stations, Costco, Dollar Tree, and all the medical offices around where I live were all open. Our streets were just as busy and there is no difference to the number of people out and about. You know not everyone was running errands, when they are supposed to be staying inside. Sure I could see picking up food at the grocery store, or driving through to grab lunch, but honestly, I don't think this is going to have much affect, if people are still out and about.

Makes you wonder when people are going to take things seriously and just stay put. Meanwhile we wait and wonder just how long will this continue. Places like China and other small countries are trying to get back to normal, while our stock market continues to plunge and all those retirement packages are just going to have to wait for sometime. One thing is certain, people have a lot of time on their hands and toilet paper still continues to be the one thing no one can find, even still.

What is it like where you live? Do you think people are heading the recommendations or has nothing really changed much?

Monday, March 23, 2020

Where I Grew Up

Despite all the craziness in the world today, we can still find solace in remember times from our past. It might be a favorite holiday, birthday party, what you did for the Summer, and today, I'd like to take you back to my childhood home in Huntington Beach.

Funny thing is that I can still remember my address, 9432 Breakwater Circle. This is the childhood home I shared with you earlier even though I can't remember much about my bedroom. But I do remember some of the things about that home that I love and still get a smile from when I think back on it.

It's a single story, 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. It is the house pictured above. Although when I grew up, it didn't look like that. It has been relandscraped and renovated a bit from the original but still so many great memories growing up. My bedroom was the one closest to the garage and faced the street. My brothers' room faced the backyard as did my parents. My best friend lived across the street until she moved away. Her name was Linda. We lived on a cul-de-sac which meant no cars driving down the street unless they were returning home for the day of work. So all the kids played together. In fact we could walk to the 7-11 on some days to return all the coke bottles we collected to buy enough candy to make us sick. Since our house was only 3 blocks to the beach, it was an easy walk or drive to get there.

I only lived there for a couple of years until my parents bought our home in Santa Ana, because they could get so much more for a house then and the price was worth it for our parents. Yet living on a cul-de-sac meant block parties. We would have them for the 4th of July and I remember sitting outside with our bar-b-ques and waiting to light off fireworks when it got dark. All the parents knew one another and life was so different than the way it is now. We didn't have a pool in our backyard, we simply had a cool fish pond with a waterfall I would let my barbies swim in during the summertime. We would have camp outs in the backyard with our sleeping bags and blankets covering our patio table.

Life was so easy back then. No unlimited television or games to play. Everything was outside. We played tag, ran in the sprinklers, rode our bikes til we got tired. Drank from the hose outside and played with all of our toys from hot wheels, barbies and even flying kites. Now things are so much different. It seems technology that was suppose to make our lives easier, now just makes us more connected to our devices over anything. I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane today and hope you'll share yours with me.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Mandatory Lockdown in California

Who would have ever thought the world and its pandemic would come to this. As of midnight last night 40 million people living in the state of California have been asked to stay home in an effort to combat and prevent the spread of the Corona Virus. However this does not impact those who are working during this time, places like grocery stores, gas stations, food banks, convenience stores, take out and delivery restaurants, banks, landromats, and laundry services, pharmacies and those in state and local government that provide services like hospitals, fire departments, police stations and more.

I guess the hardest thing to face at this time is the question of how long? When will this end? Will it end? In the meantime, I will document my own personal journey of living through a global shutdown in hopes that it might help those like myself that wonder how long before society comes back to a social situation again. Meanwhile places like China are trying to get back to a sense of normal, without knowing if that is a wise decision. I guess we will simply have to wait and see.

The great news is that my husband doesn't have to travel for work, but his work in the wireless communications still falls under the essential category, much like my son in law, working for the railroad and my oldest daughter, works for the hospitals. The only impact it is having for us immediately besides the ongoing hunt for toilet paper, milk, meat and bread, along with disinfectants and bleach remains hard to find. Even Amazon, can't keep up and have been out of stock of all the essentials people need at this time.

My youngest daughter Kailee has already applied for state benefits as her job as a server for Texas Roadhouse continues to face closures. My dad who is self employed, is now facing a huge closure of his business and not sure how that will affect him, as that income was vital. We face a challenge in the midst of this that my daughter Caitlyn is moving and not sure how we will manage that in the face of a lockdown of the entire state. Maybe that falls under an essential task, but it is weird to know that this isn't simply happening here, but everywhere. All. Around. The. World.

I just got an email this morning that my major craft supplier, Craft Outlet is now closed, so I am hopeful we can support businesses that will continue to remain open. For now, this is life as I know it and I just hope that it all ends sooner than later. I'll keep you posted.

What's it like where you are and how are you coping?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Mystery Diagnosis

I'm sure you are probably thinking I am going to write a blog post on the CoVID-19 virus but nope. I think people have heard enough about that to last a lifetime. This time, its about my recent trip to the Urgent Care facility.

I woke up yesterday morning with pain in my right side that was getting stronger by the hour. It didn't matter if I sat, stood up, walked or laid down. It had no affect on the pain. Now to give as specific as a pain comparison as I could, it felt like when I would run in high school and you get the stitch in your side. It wasn't constant but in waves. So I would have moments of reprieve.

So thinking I wanted to rule out things like appendicitis, I thought I would head to the Urgent Care over the Emergency Room. Not only to keep the wait time down, but to prevent me from having to be around so many sick people too. Thankfully, there was only one person waiting so I knew it wasn't going to be a long wait.

So when I was finally seen, the pain was on a scale of 5-6 if I wanted to be reasonable. I didn't really want to try and take something without knowing what is going on. The doctor asked all the usual questions, but when he pressed on the area that was sore, it almost put me through the roof. So he agreed that we should rule out appendicitis. So he said he was going to send me out for a CT Scan and run an IV just in case. So after all the usual paper work being faxed over and approvals, I was off to get a CT Scan with contrast complete.

To sum up long waiting times and getting through all the testings, lets just fast forward to the end result. No appendicitis, which was a relief, but it could be kidney stones, or the large stone I have in my gall bladder. Since the pain from the gall bladder didn't match up with what I was experiencing, he didn't think that was the case. So he said to give it a couple of days and see if perhaps I didn't move the right way, or caused something to pull when it shouldn't have and if it gets worse of course come back.

They weren't even going to prescribe anything for the pain, and wanted me to take Tylenol or Advil and rest. I kindly smiled and said if that were the case, I wouldn't have come into the office today. So he agreed to Tylenol 3. I was so happy to leave, I didn't really consider the pain level I would have to deal with later, that taking a Tylenol 3 wouldn't even touch. They did offer to give me Toredol in my IV before they took that out. However hours later, it didn't do anything.

The most interesting thing was looking at my discharge paperwork to see what they thought was wrong. I found 6 sheets of instructions for kidney stones, gallstones and stomach pains. Then I thought, did they seriously expect me to manage my pain level based on over the counter meds for any of those, with the exception of stomach pains?

I hate being the mystery diagnosis. The one they know there is something up, but they don't know why. That has been something I have dealt with my whole life. The one where all signs don't point to the same thing and instead remains a mystery. So while last night's sleep eluded me, and today I am barely functioning based on being so tired, I am just hoping to get a good nights sleep.

Do you ever face these issues or am I that unusual? Share your story with me today.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Hard Working Moms

We all know how busy moms can be whether working outside of the home, or being a full-time housewife and mom. So today's blog post is about what did your Mom do for work? How did she spend her day? Did she have a job outside the home, volunteer or keep things from falling apart at home?

My mom, to me was the greatest. Besides her kindness and compassion, she loved her family more than herself. Growing up, I always remember my mom working. I do remember that she was home when we got home from work, but she did have a job working as a cocktail waitress as a bowling alley. This later changed when my parents moved from Huntington Beach and settled into our new home in Santa Ana, California.

Sadly those happy days would end when I turned 7 and my parents decided on a divorce. This forced my mom to find creative ways to keep things running while taking on a mortgage payment while raising two kids. She did this by working two jobs. One while we were at school and the other shortly after we got home from school. She worked as a waitress at the Airporter Inn, a hotel with restaurant just across from John Wayne or Orange County Airport. It was just minutes away. She worked that job as many hours as she could while we were at school and even on the weekends. There would weeks she would save all her weekly change from tips and put them in jars and she would give rotate giving them to my brother and I, each week. It was spending money we looked forward to receiving. We loved to count the change and then roll it to take to the bank for cash. It was always fun for us to see who got the most money week after week.

This was how my mom managed without being able to be home during the weekends and outings and trips anywhere we rare occasions because of her two jobs. Her night job was working as a cashier at Don Josè Mexican Restaurant. We also loved this job because the next day we would get chips and salsa she brought home at the end of her job.

Since we knew how hard our mom worked, we did things to try and make her days easier from cleaning the house from top to bottom and doing all we could to make sure she didn't worry too much about what we were up to. Our neighbor Judy watched us because our best friends were her kids. So spending time there wasn't something we dreaded. I don't remember being afraid at night while we waited for her to get home, because she would get home while we were at home, and that made everything right in the world.

She worked those two jobs for almost our entire childhood so when mom was home, it was a special time and we loved being able to do things together as a family again. Little did I know it would be those times I would draw upon when I divorced and wonder how I would make it. God knew this would be just what I needed to help me get through my own troubling times. I would understand what moms give up for their kids as well.

So what did your mom do? I'd love to hear your story.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

What's in Your Name?

So in continuing with our legacy posts, I thought I would introduce a new question and topic. Today, the question is "Who gave you your name and why? Did you have a family nickname? How did you get it?

My full name is Kathleen Ann Smith. I was named after my wonderful Aunt Kathy Greshock, who I admire greatly. She is such a great inspiration and contains most of my favorite and not so favorite memories growing up. She lives in Philly and they just sold their family home, that had so many great memories so they can make things easy for them to maintain since all their kids are grown and have moved out. It only made sense but it was bittersweet to know I can't go back and stay there again.

So when I went to high school, Kathy was a pretty common name. So common, that I hated it. It was your atypical cheerleader name. I wasn't a cheerleader. I was the good girl who went to school every day, got great grades, and NEVER got into trouble. That would come in my Junior year. That, is a story for another post.

I wanted to change my name but never did. I know my mom would NEVER go for that. People used to ask me if Kathy was short for Katherine, which I loathed. Sorry to all the Katherine's out there. I just didn't care for that version of trying to figure out what my full name was. No one ever considered Kathleen. I did like the sound of that better over Katherine, maybe because it sounded younger. Yet kids from school never used the proper full length version even if you asked them to do so and even if I introduced them to Kathleen, they would simply say, "Oh Kathy, right?"

Deep down inside, I wanted to scream, "NO!" but agreed with a simply nod of the head. Even my high school boyfriends never used my full name or shorten it to any degree. I thought I would be doomed with Kathy for my entire life. 

I got so tired of people calling me, Kathy, so at work, I changed it to Kathleen. It sounded like a professional name should and thankfully, no one agreed to call me Kathy. I would firmly correct them if they tried to. So for quite a few years in the corporate world I went by Kathleen. It was a no nonsense sounding name. That would later change quickly when I managed a group of mostly guys when I took over the service department at LA Cellular in Rowland Heights.

Guys don't do long, proper names. They will shorten that to any form they could, so I changed it before they did. This is where I get my nickname Kat now. I changed it. I first heard it in the movie, "Casper" as the main character is called Kat, and really loved how that sounded. Now to convince those who knew me well to begin using it. It took some convincing and re-correcting people who kept trying to divert it back to Kathy, that I preferred Kat over Kathy.

It is always interesting however to understand name origins and for me, Kathleen simply means Pure. I guess when I think about the evolution of my name, and where I am today in my faith filled life, I am definitely proud in some degrees and often wonder how people are named? Were they named after someone amazing? So I can't wait to hear your story. I hope you'll share it with me. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Childhood Bedroom

Time to get back to something a bit more fun, instead of focusing on what is happening in the world today.

So today's legacy post is about your childhood bedroom growing up. I'm sure it is a fond memory that you can easily take yourself back to by closing your eyes. I grew up in Huntington Beach til I was about 6 years old. While I don't remember much about my bedroom, I do remember that the beach was so close, we could walk to it or ride our bikes. My parents decide on moving closer inland to purchase a new home with a lot more space. This is the childhood bedroom I remember.

We lived on 3122 South Sycamore Street in Santa Ana, California. Funny how you can remember stuff like that, including my phone number as well. I'm sure you can too. We moved into this 4 bedroom house, and I had the only room in the front. It was a single story house in the middle of a suburban new neighborhood. It was one of the bigger rooms aside from the master bedroom, so the view I had at the time, allowed me to see into the front yard. Since our house was new the cypress trees my dad had planted didn't obstruct the view at the time. They later provided some shade and privacy, but they would also later block most of my view from the inside.
I don't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. It would later also help me to mask my escape to hang out with friends and boyfriends and no one could see me leave.

My bed was a canopy bed with beautiful pink and white sheets. I had a large dresser and a regular sliding door closet where I could keep my clothes, books and of course all my Barbies and Breyer horses. I remember jumping on that bed and swinging around those posts on the bed until one day, one of them snapped off. Not something you want to explain to your parents especially to your dad. My younger brother Mike shared the room next to mine but his view was only the side of the house. His door was adjacent to the bathroom we both had to share.

My door had a small wall directly in front of it, which is where my closet began. It also allowed a young child to brace themself against the wall and the door and make a climb to the ceiling. It was easy going up but almost impossible trying to jump down without killing yourself in the process. This was before televisions were allowed in bedrooms, so my only form of entertainment was a small cassette player and would later evolve into a small boom box that would sit on top of my dresser. I don't recall having side tables, just a bed and dresser and a big oversize bean bag were the only pieces of furniture in my room. The bed was placed in the middle of the room with my dresser facing it. This gave me so area to play in with my Barbies or to sit in a bean bag and read a book.

I used to sleep with my windows open at night, before things like security proved to be an issue, and one of the things my mom told me, was how cold my room got when she had to come wake me up for school in the morning. In the Summer, I would add a fan to that window to bring the cooler temperatures in since our family didn't run the air conditioning in the Summer. I don't remember it being that hot because the beach was about 20 minutes away.

I loved that bedroom and had lots of stuffed animals on my bed. I guess most kids did growing up. For me it was a much simpler time and we had to use our imaginations to keep busy since cartoons were limited to two different times during the day, mornings and the afternoon, just after school. We didn't have video games, but we did have board games. Most of our fun was hanging out with our friends all day and into the night. Looking back now, my mom didn't know where I was half the time. I would turn up just after the street lights would come on, if I wasn't home already.

I'm curious, what did your childhood bedroom look like and what was the view out your window?

Friday, March 13, 2020

In the Meantime...

Remember when at the end of the night, our television sets would all end programming with the same image and then you got the color bars on all channels until the morning? 

So what do you do when it seems like chaos is overcoming virtually every sector in the world? I believe the best plan is not to buy into the panic and realize that things will go back to normal very soon. As soon as the temperatures begin to warm up, it will be a miracle as many will claim it is due to their efforts, that they now have the CoVid-19 under control. Who knows someone may even claim to have discovered a vaccine and now its due to those efforts, that we are over the worst and back to better days ahead.

Meanwhile people continue to spiral out of control as Disney parks around the world, close their doors til the end of March. You see schools, churches, malls and more slowly closing down in hopes of waiting this issue out. Stockpiling is still out of control as people hoard more products than they can possibly use in months to come. It just shows where greed has gotten out of control. Some cities are even closing down and it makes you wonder, just how prepared were we, IF this had been something more serious.

Was this just a test to see how prepared any of us really are?

Was this a global scenario to see how anyone could and would respond?

What if they had more devastating results and the contagion spread faster than anyone could control?

These were the very questions I ran by my husband last night. What if this was simply a test before something more lethal could be released? Are any of us truly prepared like we should have been?

What I think this will do, is show the areas of weakness that can be shored up. Not like stock piling a years worth of toilet paper. This shows how even weak Amazon is, in supplying products to buyers when we believed in them to always have a surplus of supplies at the ready. But making sure you have all the emergency supplies on hand like we all tell ourselves we either have or should get soon.

Until then, for me and my family, we will take normal precautions for now, and respond to the things our local leaders are asking for. We will still continue to do what we do every day. Nothing is going to change that much for us, because we know that this will be over, before anyone knows it will.

I will continue to laugh at the funny meme's people are posting in an effort to find something hopeful and makes you laugh in the midst of the unknown. Life must go on, and it will. We will find joy in our morning devotions, watching BBC series that take our minds off of what the media is spewing, and try to remember to enjoy time with our neighbors a bit more. Let's make sure that we take care of those around us, that might not understand what is happening. Let's think about others while we wait for the world to press the reset button and we wake up from a time that no one thought was possible.

It makes you wonder, if the world panics like this, what will happen when the church is raptured?

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Sky Is Falling?

I remember reading the story about Henny Penny. I'm sure you remember it from being a child, about the crazy chicken who had a pebble fall on her head, and she believed the "Sky is Falling." So she went and told all the farm animals that the sky was falling in an effort to save the animals from what she believed to be true.

It's hard in recent days not to get caught up in all the media frenzy and hype over the CoVid19 as the Corona Virus has a fancy new name. We see all the meme's all over social media talking about the pandemic, as the World Health Organization announced yesterday. So it makes you wonder why now? Why has this suddenly caused the entire global community to spin out of control? The stock markets have taken a huge hit. The entire country of Italy is now under a self imposed quarantine, the NBA cancelled its season, and other sporting events are closing their doors to fans, while games are played out among coaches, staff and limited family members.

I think this is a first for the entire world to react as such. Even last night on television, President Trump announced that as of Friday, no incoming flights would be allowed to enter the US for 30 days, with the exception of Ireland and the UK. Even all the reputable authorities are trying to predict how this will all play out. Some even claiming a doom and gloom scenario, that we are about the face the worst recession ever.

So what does one do with all the changes happening daily? Do you stock up on essentials just in case people are asked to self quarantine for awhile? One region in Seattle is being asked to do just that. The one outcome I am leaning to, is yes things will seem to go downhill for a time. We have received reports that the virus only lasts 2 weeks and that it doesn't like warm climates. We are just entering into Spring with Summer just around the corner. Does that mean that we are likely to see the virus lose stability once the temperatures climb? I certainly agree. What I have heard is while the stock market responds to fear, once those fears dissipate, the market will rebound in ways like you have never seen. Once the economy bounces back, people will go back to the way things use to be and for those who have money to spare, this may be the time to buy when shares are low. Because we know this will NOT last, and better days are coming.

When they do, those of us that do not panic, will be the ones that will ride the waves of stability again. I think you have to do things now to prevent the likelihood of being stuck at home for 2 weeks or more. I don't think you have to stock pile toilet paper, paper towels and water. I do think being prepared has always been something people talked about, but no one really took it seriously until now. Now people are panicking. They're buying all this toilet paper in an effort to control something in their life If others are buying it, shouldn't they do it too?

This is where I believe that we can stay calm. We can watch and do what we can to prevent the spread of the virus in our homes, communities and cities. I think we are about to see the President, who thankfully is a smart businessman, make some amazing plans to protect Americans, and to stabilize our own country, while the world waits for things to reset and resume a normal way of life again.

I'm interested in knowing what you plan on doing? 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Empty Nest??

Ever since I remarried, I looked forward to the time when Steve and I would get an opportunity after raising kids to enjoy our time alone. When I married him, he accepted the full-time responsibility to take on a ready made family at that time, which involved my 3-year old daughter. So we have never had the experience of just enjoying time together, alone.

So when our youngest got married and moved out, we were not the sad parents mourning that chapter of our lives, we were actually somewhat excited and looking forward to doing things we weren't able to, like simply enjoying a quiet evening at home, going to dinner and the movies without the added expense and being able to travel a bit more. We even looked into the notion of buying a RV and road tripping a lot since Steve travels quite a bit for work.

But what those empty nesters don't share with you is that, parenting is never completely over and parents are not left alone. You still receive phone calls to share the latest news and what's happening in their lives which is great, but you also get late night phone calls when things are going wrong. From health concerns, relationship issues, fights with their spouses, and so much more, it seems like my life lately has been once again managing the lives of those who are constantly calling.

I can recall when I moved out of my parents home, I called to check in. Schedule lunch. Visit for a holiday, but everything else was part of managing my life as an adult. It means thinking for yourself at times.

Now don't get me wrong, it's nice to give advice from time to time based on our life experiences and such, but lately it seems a daily occurrence, late night phone calls without regard for their parents who have their own set of worries to contend with and what they don't know is that it's not just them calling. They don't realize that there are multiple things happening in our lives we don't share with our kids. We handle those issues all within our family, which at this stage should be Steve and I.

People often say, well take a vacation and get away from it for a time. They don't realize those phone calls never stop. I've had short weekend trips ruined by midnight phone calls saying their sick, or their fighting with their spouse again, or half a dozen other things that can simply wait til we return. Nothing except a life and death issue warrants calling your parents late in the evening and waking them up.

I know I am bound to get countless replies by people telling me that I should be happy my kids feel comfortable calling me. That's not the point of this post. I guess I ask myself at what point will they begin to manage their issues on their own? I honestly don't think they understand just how many times throughout the day I am called. If not one, then the other one. If not both, then their spouses call, my brother calls, or half of dozen people that seem like its all at once.

In bite size chunks, these situations are manageable. What I sometimes ask myself is why are not the other sets of parents being called? Why us?

This is just me, ranting after another two day episode of three different people having their own meltdowns and needing to "talk to someone."

This is one time, that I don't believe that Calgon will take me anywhere without phone service.

Until then, I pray. I try to see what God is trying to teach me in these situations and perhaps for some, I might have to re-establish appropriate boundaries for the time being, like you don't get to call your parents at 2am to saying you and your spouse are fighting. You don't get to call them at 2am to say you're having second thoughts about your marriage. You don't get to call them saying your having cramps and can't sleep.

Those can wait til morning. I don't know of anyone who can think clearly after being woken up out of a dead sleep. For now, this post will simply be the rant of a sleep deprived, over stressed mom that is trying to manage things as well as I can.

And that empty nest thing? I don't think it will ever be truly empty. Now I need to call my mom and apologize for all those late night phone calls when I was still living and hope and fighting with my brother at home. Mom, I am so so sorry!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Faith Like A Mustard Seed

Do you ever wonder about when Jesus speaks to his disciples and tells them that if they have the faith as small as a mustard seed, they can speak to a mountain and make it move?

I believe that I understand that clearly. There are always going to be tough times in our lives, especially as believers. We are the target of the spiritual enemy in this world, so we are his biggest threat. So when life tosses you the ultimate curve ball that is positioned to upset the apple cart you just thought was finally starting to look up for you, you question, "Why?"

It is so hard to maintain control of anything in our life. From our finances, our relationships, our health, even our jobs or family. We have bought into the illusion that we hold any control over it at all. So when things take a turn for the worse, we fall into panic mode trying to figure out how to solve it.

This is where that faith in the form of a mustard seed comes into play. All God is saying is that He will take whatever you have, a lot or just the smallest, tiniest bit. God loves to work on the smallest portions, because that is where the biggest rewards can come from. When we commit those walks in the deepest valley to God, that is where He shines through, because we know that when things change, it won't be based on anything we did or could do. It's all Him at that point. There are countless times in the Bible, God has asked his followers to reduce help down to the insurmountable odds. It's because He didn't want them to claim victory in that battle, but knowing it was all Him.

He loves to work in impossible situations, with the very least likely of odds turning out for the best. It's where He shines the brightest. Think of the most ultimate of all situations. Jesus on the cross, dead and all hope for His followers lost. They didn't remember what He told them of His death, until after He rose from the grave, 3 days later. If God can take THAT situation and make something out of the most impossible of all days, He can certainly work with whatever you can give Him.

I simply ask that you are willing to put that faith to the test. I've said it before that if you have a faith that hasn't been tested, then that is a faith that shouldn't be trusted.

Knowing my oldest daughter is going through a very deep dark valley right now, I told her to hold fast to whatever faith she had, no matter if her prayers feel pointless. God will be able to use that to His glory, and no matter the outcomes, He is still God of all in her life.

In fact my morning devotional today spoke to the moment in the Bible where Elijah was tasked with taking on the prophets of Baal. He challenged them to a display of their gods power to His God's power. Elijah was seriously outnumbered and he even went as far to build a trench around his altar and fill his pile of wood with enough water to thoroughly soak his pile and fill the trenches around his altar before praying to God. He wanted everyone to know that faith he had in God to do the impossible. To call down fire to consume the wood on the altars. Let's just say if you haven't read about it, God came through in a big way. Just like He always does.

Here is a quote, I sent her today from my morning devotional which is sometimes how God can use words to encourage us. "God does not despair over difficult situations. He delights in them because difficult situations are an opportunity for God to provide and prove His supernatural powers. That is why when we face difficult situations, we don't run away from them; we face them with prayer. The prelude to powerful praying is an impossible situation." Oh trust me, we want to run and hide from some situations. Often telling God, when you've fixed it let me know, and I'll come out.

While we may not be able to control anything about what we are going through, we do know that God can. Remember those times in your valleys, where you face impossible odds, because while they are not always possible with our efforts, God can use that tiniest bit of faith and open the seas before you. Just trust in Him. 

Matthew 17:20 "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it WILL move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Monday, March 9, 2020

The World is Going Crazy!

We all know that change always comes to our lives, but with the recent influx of panic over the Corona Virus, it makes you wonder why everyone is going so crazy. As of this morning, Steve's company announced they are suspending any unnecessary travel which meant his trip to Boston at the end of this month and a trip to North Carolina have been cancelled. Great news for him, but then reading my online News App, you can see how all this is having a horrible effect on every industry.

I read one wreath maker is ordering all her supplies since no new shipments are forecasted from China for the foreseeable future, and recommended her followers might do the same. I watched video from local news stations show the panic stockpiling at Costco for paper towels, bottled water, toilet paper and cleaning supplies, with some fights breaking out when stock ran out. Where is all this going?

Well its all connected. If the news media reports the numbers and shows concern this may be a huge pandemic, then people panic. However if you look back on such issues like MRSA, H1N1, or any other issues that people thought would be the demise of the world, where was the panic on those issues? There wasn't any, because the media didn't report the threats like they are now.

Makes you wonder if this isn't going to be a huge fail on many fronts. In fact the health numbers report more people have died from the flu this year than can ever come close to this new viral threat. Where are the warnings about staying home if you're sick? Because quite frankly, employers won't grant most employees the time off to keep the rest of the workplace from becoming sick.

These very people who are panicking is what is causing the issue. The same people fighting over bottled water are the very same families that continue to send their kids to school, they themselves still go to work and they still go about their daily lives without those same phobias. In fact, I read that Corona Beer is facing huge financial issues because some people believe that is what is causing this virus. Is that crazy?

I believe we are going to be just fine and when this all ends, people are going to feel like fools, because it wasn't the world wide plague of the world, people lead them to believe. Will people die? Certainly. There are the same risks for people with compromised immune systems that should be taking precautions like they would for the flu or common cold. But on a whole, look at a set of different numbers the media isn't sharing with you. The number of people who have survived. The number of people in the world who don't have it.

It's all in how you view the perspective of those you watch. In the end, this will be nothing but a panic that has caused a long range affect on those companies that depend on others around the world. Perhaps it will make us rethink what we allow to shape our thoughts and actions. Until then, watch reputable news agencies, even though there are very few that are left to report the truth and always, remember those that are surviving and thriving. As believers, this too shall pass. God remains in control. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I have always been drawn to the coolness of a garden. Perhaps it is because when God placed man on the Earth, He put them in the Garden of Eden. I can only imagine the beauty of that wonderful place and can't wait to see what the gardens in heaven look like.

In every single place we have lived, whether it is an apartment, a rental house or even our very own home, I have always placed plants in whatever space I had available. For living in an apartment, most of those stayed in containers or pots.

When we first bought our first home, it was truly a labor of love to not only have an inviting front yard, but also a wonderful garden in the backyard, that could become a personal space to get away from the day to day stresses of the world.

Even now in our rental home, we have carried on that tradition and turned our desert landscape into a backyard oasis that doesn't seem to fit in, because it is so lush and green. a far cry from the photo at the top of this post which was what it used to look like. The one thing missing however in this one, is a running fountain or water feature. We do have a fountain and bird bath for our local birds that stop by or the neighboring cat, but nothing beats the sound of a bubbling fountain.

I have to admit that my one escape these days has been for a new NetFlix feature called Big Dreams, Small Spaces with host and gardener Monty Don. It's based in England where any space is quickly claimed as a garden. I have to admit after watching a couple episodes I find myself wanting not only to learn more about the plants I currently have growing or in some cases dying and adding more varieties to lure bees, butterflies and birds to this rare space in the desert. I do know that every year with the extreme weather we get, from the blazing hot temperatures, lack of rain and water, and hard soil, it can be a challenge to keep things green.

Even something as simple as strawberries and tomatoes seem to be a bit of a challenge to not only grow but to keep the insects from devouring the plants before we can harvest anything. We do have two apples trees which thankfully are producing fruit each year, not only for us, but for the birds as well.

I love a fragrant garden, so all the plants we grow tend to lean in that common direction. From Honeysuckles, to Lavender, from Freesia, to Morning Glories, I love the garden to want to draw you in and spend some time just sitting and listening to the sounds of birds singing. My favorite local wildlife are the Mourning Doves. They come at sunrise and sunset and I have to make sure there is plenty for them to enjoy. I believe the most we have had at one time has been between 18-22 birds.

Of course we also have an entire Rose Garden with 13 plants of different colors and fragrances, and over the years, these have been the one thing Steve will purchase for me for Mother's Day or Anniversaries because I can enjoy them most of the year over store bought bouquets. There are also two hummingbird feeders to keep the local population quite happy all year long. Yes, they even stay during our cold Winters.

So I have shared mine garden with you, what is your garden growing?  

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Week Long Birthday Festivities and Surprise Guest

My husband, Steve and I have been married for 22 years and it's not often he can surprise me with things I can't figure out on my own. So when he mentioned he had the perfect gift in mind for my birthday but wasn't sure if he should tell me or not, I said I don't want to ruin it for you trying to figure it out.

Then he mentioned if he didn't tell me I might be mad they he didn't. Wouldn't that make you wonder why someone might be upset by the gift he had planned?

I told him it was up to him and that's when he revealed that one of my friends from my Private Wreath Making Group, Gail Cela, was going to be flying out from Florida to celebrate with me for 5 days but unfortunately would be flying home on my actual birthday. Now mind you this was 30 days from that actually happening and I was more than ecstatic!!  He said, I know how you are about cleaning and I wanted you to know about it beforehand so you wouldn't be upset if you didn't have time to prepare for a visit.

He knows me too well.

I am not OCD by any standard, but he knew I would want to do what I could to ensure her stay was perfect. This would mean picking up things I knew she would like, making the guest room as comfy and organized as possible for someone coming in to stay for 5 days. It was so much fun making all the preparations with finding little things I knew she might like, with fragrant shampoos and soaps, lotions and of course all her favorite drinks and snacks.

I love making people feel at home when they stay with me. I had even planned on taking time off from my public and private group tutorials, but when I revealed to Gail that their secret was out, she insisted the one thing she really wanted to do, was be on my Friday Night Live in my public group because she would be doing this as her first live and wanted to understand everything it took to make that happen.

The planning that I began to make sure we did everything she wanted to do was underway from making a shopping trip to our floral and design center wholesaler here in Southern California, and she was even bringing in an extra large bag to make sure she got to take home everything she wanted.

Steve was super accommodating and offered to be our driver the entire time and was willing to endure a very long and arduous shopping trip with us. We spent Sunday working on perfecting her wreath making tips with a request to show her how to jump down to the second level working on the pouf methods and mastering making a bow. Trust me, she's a total pro when it comes to her skill set and planning.

So we planned on picking her up at the airport on Friday night, grabbing a quick bite to eat at Mimi's Cafe, heading home and preparing for the Facebook Live at 5pm. We would top off the night the way Steve and I usually do, with dinner at our local hot spot Paulina's Mexican Grill. Saturday would consist of a huge shopping trip to the design center, followed by lunch at the beach before heading home. For dinner, we would visit Texas Roadhouse to be waited on by my youngest daughter Kailee and meeting the infamous, Bacon, from a previous Facebook Live from Cracker Barrel. Sunday was a slow crafting day at home.

Monday we all planned to visit Disneyland and California Adventure for my birthday with my youngest Kailee and her husband Isaiah since it had been 25 years since she had been to California. We had a blast that day simply enjoying the parks, seeing Frozen at the Hyperion theater, lunch at the winery and topped it off with visiting Galaxy's Edge where she picked up a light sabre for her son Alec.

Sadly like all good things, the end came after breakfast at iHop by the Ontario airport and ensuring Gail had no issues with her check ins and luggage. I didn't expect the tears that came from both of us as we said our goodbyes, but know we will get together again real soon.

Thank you Gail and Steve for your creative plans to pull off one incredible and lasting birthday that I will remember forever.