Monday, January 21, 2019

Monday's Musings

Well, beyond the shadow of a doubt, it was a real good thing that I cancelled my trip to Des Moines and Chicago this past weekend.  While our weather here in NE Louisiana was nothing compared to there, it was bitter, bitter to us.  Saturday morning was in the high 50's and by 5:00 PM, it was at 38 degrees and continued to drop to the high 20's.  And, we had wind at about 25+mph.  Hubby and I went out for a while and were more than happy to get back home to a warm fire and a fuzzy throw.

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About a month ago I got the latest IPhone, the XS Max.  It really hurt my feelings to pay such a price for a cell phone but I wanted the camera and just decided to spring for it.  The camera in the XS Max is, except for a few features, like having a DSLR camera at your fingertips.  Well, I knew that I needed to learn everything I could about the camera and how to use the various "bells and whistles."  So, I enrolled in the IPhone Photography Academy.  I have already learned so much and I am only about 1/3 of the way through.  It is for anyone who has an IPhone 7 or above.   You take the class at your own pace and it will be available forever.  So, if you are interested in learning all the "ins and outs" of your Iphone camera, you might want to check this out.  There is a fee for the classes.

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Ever since the first of the year I have been seeing posts about the Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.  I had read so much about it that I decided to check it out while I was on the elliptical one morning.  There are several episodes and I chose the one that focused more on the entire house.  I watched about 15 minutes of it and decided that I pretty much had this "tidy business" under control.   The family that she was helping in the particular episode  had stuff and clutter all over their entire house.  It made me crazy and that's when I decided that I did not need to watch it.  I do have, by some standards, a lot of stuff but it is all tidy and organized.  And, as she states in her series, it is a constant effort, something that you make a point to work at each and every day.  And, in the process you give things away, take them to a thrift store or throw them away.  Otherwise, it's easy for us to become a "slave to our stuff." If you are needing some motivation in this area then I highly recommend this series. Her main thread throughout the series is "does this bring you joy?"  If it doesn't bring you joy then you need to get rid of it.  But, I imagine that we all view things that bring us joy differently. And, so it goes...........

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This Wednesday I will begin this Bible Study by Lysa Terkeurst with a wonderful group of ladies.  We are such a diverse group and that only adds to the interest of the study.  We have ladies my age and older and then a large percentage are young Moms barely keeping their heads above water.  I have always enjoyed interacting with younger women and encouraging them along their way.  I look back with so much fondness on the ladies that took me under their wings when I was right where some of these young ladies are at this time.  I'm looking forward to this study that will likely speak volumes to all of us in attendance.

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If you are looking for a One Year Bible then you might want to check this one out.

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Each page has nice margins for note taking and there are images and scriptures to color in throughout, if you so desire.  I read about this on another blog and wanted to share it with you.  If you are into creativity and expressions then this just might be the One Year Bible for you.
And, I leave you with these...........

No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

Frame every so-called disaster with these words, 'In five years, will this matter?'

The shortest distance between two people is a smile.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wednesday Medley

Before jumping into the Wednesday Medley, I want to thank each of you that read and commented on my previous post, Care Giving.  I believe I had more comments than than on any other of my 1100+ posts.  That tells me that is struck a chord with many.  My heartfelt thanks to all of you.  If you missed it and want to read it, you will find it here.

Wednesday, January 16th, is National Do Nothing Day!! National Nothing Day was proposed in 1972 by columnist Harold Pullman Coffin. This day has been observed annually since 1973. Of course, the way to celebrate it is to do nothing! 

1.  To commemorate Do Nothing Day in SOME way, tell us something about your life (or the life of someone close to you) in 1973!! 
I had been married for 2 years and was a whooping 21 years old.  I was serving as a secretary at a church.  I was what you might say, "still wet behind the ears."

2.  Now that we are thinking back, please tell us what your favorite past time was as a child.
My goodness, that was a l-o-n-g time ago but I have some wonderful memories of "playing house."  And, I generally played it all by myself with my dolls and I would talk like I had 2-3 friends playing with me.  I think my Mom use to come and make sure that there were not others in the room with me due to the conversations I would have with myself.  

3.  What is the best way to cheer you up on a bad day? 
Remembering God's faithfulness in the past and seeing the sun.  I can only take so much gloomy weather and especially if I'm not having a particularly good day anyway.  The sun makes everything better.

4.  How old were you when you first started dating? Do you remember your first date?
I really do not.  I did not have a busy dating life for sure. I always seem  to have fun but it was more with groups rather than dates.

5.  Today is also National Fig Newton day.  Do you like figs/Fig Newtons?
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NO! NO! I do not like Fig Newtons.  I cannot stand the ooey gooey filling in them.  I'll take just about any other cookie though.
6.  Tell us something random about your week.

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If you have been reading my blog recently then you know that I was planning to leave this Friday morning headed to Chicago by way of Des Moines.  Well, it appears that Mother Nature is going to cause those plans to change.  A snow storm is due to hit both places this weekend and that will not work with my sister in law, niece and me driving from Des Moines to Chicago on Saturday.  We had such a fun weekend planned and we are so disappointed but I took a gamble when I bought the airline ticket and looks like I lost.  Hopefully I can use the credit for another ticket to have fun another time before long.  Boo! Hoo!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Care Giving

Websters definition of care giving is the activity or profession of regularly looking after a child, or a sick , elderly or disabled person.

Today's post is on a subject very near and dear to my heart.  I have been involved in some form of care giving for 30+ years.  I say some form because mine has been more of an "overseer of care."  I have never, at this time, cared for anyone full time in our home.  Just what I have done and am doing now can be tough and I cannot imagine doing it 24/7 and never being able to escape it.  My heart goes out to the many that fall into that category.

My first experience with care giving or being the "overseer of care" was in 1987.  The time came that my paternal grandparents (pictured above) could no longer live alone.  My Dad was their only child, his only sibling had died many years earlier.  Daddy was pastoring a church in Virginia and his parents lived in Ft. Smith, Arkansas.  Daddy discussed moving them to a facility near he and Mom and that did not go over well, they simply could not imagine moving 1000 miles away from all that was familiar to them.  So, they told my Daddy that they would come to Louisiana where our family lived.  After much discussion between me and my Daddy it was decided that they would move here into a nursing facility.  They were 82 and 80 at that time.  Little did I know what I had agreed to do.  And, you know, it was one of those times that "ignorance was bliss."  If I had had any idea what the next 12 years would hold, I would likely have never agreed to being their "over seer." I made the decision basically for my Dad and he came when he could but that was generally only a couple of times a year.  I was the one who took them to the Dr., made sure that they were getting the best care possible at the nursing facility, and the list goes on and on.  I spent more hours in the emergency room than the law allows.  After 7 years my Grandpa passed away and we felt like my Grandma would not be far behind.  They had been married 68 years and we couldn't imagine her living without him.  But, that was not the case, she lived on for 5 more years and died at the age of 92 in 1999.  They gave me my first training as "overseer" of care.  It was a balancing act for me because our children were 8 and 11 when I took on this responsibility. And, lest any of you misunderstand, there were a lot of blessings that came out of those 12 years as well, but it was still a lot for me to deal with a lot of the time.  But, the Lord knew that this was not to be my last "over seeing" job and He was preparing me for the days ahead and I did not even know it. 

A few short years  later my precious mother in law was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  She had moved into an assisted living facility before her diagnosis and was able to live there for some time.  Her needs became such that she had to be moved in a nursing facility. Her two daughters lived 8-10 hours away so I often took the lead in overseeing her care. They both came regularly but, obviously, could not be involved in her day to day care.  She was such a lovely and dignified lady and it broke my heart to see what this terrible disease was doing to her. I assisted my husband in making sure that her needs were being met as much as possible and made arrangements for extra help in her last months of life.  I found out very quickly with both my grandparents and my mother in law that any one in a nursing facility had better have a good advocate.  They had better have someone coming and going regularly.  It is the ONLY way that they would get the care that they deserved and to the very best of my ability, I made sure she got the best possible.  My mother in law passed away in January of 2008.

On December 1, 2008, just 11 months to the day that my MIL died, my sweet Momma died.  She suffered a massive stroke and lived about 48 hours.  It was so unexpected and sudden and rocked my world unlike it had ever been rocked before.  But, in time, I realized how blessed she was and we were that she did not live in the condition she was in and the Lord was gracious.  There was no need for an overseer to her care. 

Just about the time I had wrapped my head around the loss of my Mother, my Dad was stricken with Guillian Barre Syndrome (you can Google it if you are not familiar with it) in June of 2011. To put it in a nutshell, he was a vibrant 81 year old man who within 24   hours was flat on his back, and helpless as a lamb.  I spent 3-4 weeks with him in a Shreveport hospital (about 120 miles from here).  My youngest brother came every chance he could from Iowa to help me.  To make a long story short, Daddy had to go into a nursing facility once he got out of the hospital to begin physical therapy to regain use of his arms, legs and to regain his voice.  The Drs. gave us no guarantees on his recovery or if he would even live.  But, within 6 months he had recovered to the point that he could leave the nursing facility and move into an assisted living facility.   It was nothing short of a miracle.  That was almost 8 years ago and he is still at the same facility.  

Over this past 8 years Dad's Macular Degeneration has progressed to the point that he is now legally blind.  He can see nothing but imagines.  He cannot read anything, he cannot see the TV and his world has gotten very small due to his blindness.  But, he manages very well in his little apartment.  I have contracted with a medication nurse who gives him his daily meds and I oversee, very closely, the rest of his care.  

And, I would be lying if I said that I do not get tired of it.  Yes, I do!  He is constantly on my mind and there are times that he can be very demanding.  He can be snarky and I sometimes leave him with tears in my eyes.  And, this does not mean  that I love him any less, but I have been at this "overseeing of care" business for a very long time and I get weary of it at times.  And, I dare say, if anyone of you reading this have been in my shoes, you totally agree.  

I cannot imagine caring for someone 24/7 and I'm so thankful that I can leave Daddy and know that he is getting the best possible care we can afford at this time.  Of course, that is because I stay on top of all his needs and I am his greatest advocate and if you mess with him, you will give an account to ME.  I cannot tolerate folks not doing their job or acting as though the elderly just really do not matter.

So, as tired as I get, as weary as I get, I will ALWAYS be there for my Daddy until his time on this earth is no more.  When I walk in his room and it's 83 degrees I will try to endure because he is comfortable.  When he snaps at me, I will take a deep breathe and do my best not to snap back.  When he forgets what I just told him, I will remember that this might be me one day. When he calls me for the 5th time in one day I will answer my phone happily.  And, when he hugs me before I leave and says, "I do not know what I would do with you," I will continue to get a huge lump in my throat.  And, one day when he has passed from this life I'll be forever thankful for the man that he was, his influence on my life and that I did all I could to make his latter years as comfortable as possible. 

None of us would ever choose to need an  "overseer" of our care or a caregiver but if we live long enough there's a good possibility that we will .  But, along with that responsibility comes privileges that we would never get to experience otherwise.  And, I'm so thankful that the Lord always provides the extra strength that I need just as I need it as I continue on in this thing called, "caregiving." 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Saturday 9 - Remembering Elvis

Saturday 9: I Forgot to Remember to Forget (1955)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

In honor of Elvis' birthday (January 8.) 
I cannot believe that I have NEVER heard this Elvis song because I was quite the Elvis fan at one time.  
1) Elvis sings that he thinks about this girl all the time. What person or topic is on your mind this Saturday?
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This gal right here is on my mind today.  This is my daughter in law and her 40th birthday was this past Wed.  I am hosting a celebration luncheon for her and some of her friends today at one of her favorite restaurants.  40 is a big birthday and I wanted to do something special for her.  I'm sure I'll have photos and things to share from the celebration in a future post.

2) He wants to forget the day he met his girl, but simply can't. Think about someone very important in your life. Did you know right away that they were going to be influential? 
Hummm........I've been blessed to have a lot of influential people in my life, influential in the sense that they have inspired me by their example. Yes, I knew they were going to be influential and some of them are still a rich blessing/influence  in my life.   

Since this week's song is about memories, let's check on how well you recall events in your own life.

3) What was the first concert you ever attended?
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Believe it or not, it was an Elvis concert back in the early 70's and I paid $12.50 for my ticket.  That was a very steep price back then.  I was beside myself with excitement.  A girlfriend and I went together and we swooned and tried hard to catch one of his sweaty scarves.  It was truly a great concert.

4) Where did you get your first piercing? (Not only where on your body, but who did the deed and where did they do it?) 
Oh, my goodness, I well remember my first and only piercing.  It was my ears when I was about 13 years old and I did it with self piercing earrings. ~never again~ At that time everyone went to the Dr. to get their ears pierced and we couldn't afford for me to do that.  So, my Daddy went and bought the self piercing ones and he put them in my ears to make sure they were straight and then the torture began.  It took about 3 days for them to finally pierce all the way through. I've never had a minutes problem with them  and I've enjoyed the result for over 50 years. ~yikes, that's a long time~

5) What's the name of the bank where you had your first checking account?
Oh, I remember thinking "I had arrived" when I opened my first checking account but I cannot remember the name of the back. ~it was a long, long time ago~ It was in Lynchburg, Virginia, I do know that.

6) Tell us about your first bicycle. 

I got my first bicycle on my 6th birthday and it was a Schwinn. The above picture (notice my Shirley Temple curls) was taken on my 6th birthday but I couldn't find one with my new bike in it.  It was a huge, heavy, heavy bicycle and almost more than I could handle but I rode many a mile on it.  

7) Who received the first text you ever sent?
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I can't really remember but I would imagine my daughter because it was her and my DIL that convinced me to get on the text band wagon.  I've been on it every since. 

8) What had you been drinking when you suffered your first hangover?
I have not and do not drink and thus have never had a hangover.I have seen the horrible effects that alcohol can have on people's lives and made a conscious decision to be a "t-totaler" many years ago.

9) Whose was the first wedding you ever attended?
I think it was likely one of the members of our church.  My Dad was a minister so I started going to weddings at a very young age whether I knew the couple or not.  Mom just took us kids along with her like a good pastor's wife.

Have a great weekend!!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

10 Random Things About Me

I'm linking up with Jen for her first 10 on the 10th link up of 2019.  Today's subject is quite interesting and I thought would make for an enjoyable post.

Yes, 10 random things about me.  Now, let me see if I can think of 10.

1. I was named Lea Beth at birth, which you would think is pronounced Lee, but it isn't. My name is Leah and my parents always told me that they forgot to add the "h."   That's so funny because they named me after Leah in the Bible.  So, now you know.

2. I am a very routine person.  I have most days planned out with a mixture of household duties, errands and always try to do something fun or enjoyable.

3. I am highly organized, even my junk drawer is organized and has a place for everything and everything is in it's place.  Both of my parents were very organized so I caught on real quickly and can't imagine living life any other way.  It's not even a task for me, it's as natural as breathing. ~I know, weird~

4. I still keep a very detailed wall calendar and likely always will.  I do use my Outlook calendar as well, but I love going to our wall calendar and seeing all our activities and appointments posted there.  

5. Our two children are exactly 2 years and 9 months apart to the day.  My friends teased me and told me that no one else could plan that well. ~big chuckle~

6. I love to laugh and I have a loud and contagious laugh.

7. I probably do 70% of my shopping online and I wish that I felt guilty about it, but I don't.  It's just so convenient. ~shame on me~

8. I am and always have been, directionally challenged. I cannot read a map, can't tell east from west or north from south.  Can I just say that  GPS systems and apps were made for folks like me. I love turn by turn directions spoken to me.  It's the BEST!!!

9. I hit the floor in high gear every morning and am productive until around dinner time.  I am on the downward spiral by then and can hardly wait to curl up in my recliner for the remainder of my day. I am usually asleep between 10 - 10:30 and up at 5:30 and generally sleep very well.  This is an area where I think a routine has served me well.  I've always read that our bodies and sleep patterns do best when we have a routine. I definitely believe that.

10. I took piano lessons for 8 years, pretty much disliked every lesson I took but my Mom wanted me to take, so I did.  In a few years after I had stopped taking  I was so sorry that I did not apply myself and take full advantage of the privilege to learn to play the piano.  I can still play but could have learned so much more if I had just enjoyed it. ~boo hoo~

I leave you with this inspiring quotes/sayings..........

When in doubt, just take the next small step. 

Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

It's never too late to be happy.  But, it's all up to you and no one else.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Rain, My Word and More

I'm trying to get my blog "mo jo" back after the holidays and it hasn't been easy.  It seemed that the past couple of weeks have all been Saturdays.  I'm really excited for today as it marks the first FULL week of the new year.  Now, maybe I can get back into my regular routine.  I thrive in a routine and hardly know how to function without one.  But, sometimes it's just pretty much impossible to have a routine and the Christmas holidays are definitely one of those times.  Anyone else struggle without a routine?

And, to add insult to injury, we have had more rain than "the law allows" here in NE Louisiana.  It was recorded that we had rain 123 days in 2018.  Folks, that is 1/3 of the year.  I can handle some rain and I do realize that it is necessary, but enough is enough.  We have windows all the way across the back of our house and that can be both a  blessing and a curse.  It's a blessing when we look out on a beautiful day to the pond, the woods behind the pond and the beautiful landscape of our yard.  But, it is a HUGE curse when all you see is wet, wet, and soggy, soggy.  I know what they mean by seasonal depression. ~smile~  We did have a gorgeous weekend and it appears that there will be little to no rain this week.  So, looks like we can all pull ourselves out of the doldrums this first full week of 2019. ~hallelujah~ 

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For the past 3 years I have had a "word" for the year but I just about decided that I would not have one this year.  But, the word TRUST just kept coming and coming to my mind and I knew that it had to be my "word" for 2019.  Not a secular trust but a spiritual trust.  Trust in the ONE that can work everything out (without my help).  And, I might should have added SURRENDER and had 2 words.  I'm not sure why I struggle with trusting because I know better but I find myself fretting over how things are going to turn out and is it going to be the way I want or imagined it.  Well, that is not mine to fret over, it's mine to surrender, lay  at the foot of the cross and know that God is at work in all things and in HIS time (not mine) He will work it out according to HIS plan (not mine).  As the old hymn says, "Trust and obey for there's no other way."  Sure sounds simple.  May 2019 find me trusting and obeying.

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On Friday the 18th I will be flying to Des Moines.  Then on the 19th, my sister in law, my niece (who both live in DM)  and I will drive to Chicago for an overnight stay. You say, why such a quick trip.

Well, this cute gal on the far right of this picture is engaged to my nephew and will be playing Anelle in Steel Magnolia's at The Big Noise Theater.  We'll be attending the play the night of the 19th and a wedding shower for Amanda (Anelle) that afternoon.  Talk about cramming a lot into a day! Then we will drive back to Des Moines on Sunday morning and I'll fly back home Monday afternoon.  It will be a quick but fun 4 days.  I'll have lots to share afterwards I'm sure.  Of course, weather could change these plans but hopefully all will go as planned. 

I'll close with a few Momisms..things our Moms always said
*Always do your best ad let your conscience be your guide.
*Goodness gracious alive!
*You'll feel better if you put on a little lipstick.
*Mind your manners.
*Don't stoop to somebody else's level, bring them up to yours.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Saturday 9 - You Make Me Feel Brand New

Saturday 9

 Saturday 9: You Make Me Feel Brand New (1974)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
Welcome to the first Saturday 9 of 2019!

1) As 2019 kicks off, what are your hopes for the brand new year?
Health and happiness for our family and peace and love for our country.  Oh, my goodness, it makes me so sad to see "the state of affairs" and the hatred and lack of respect our elected officials display.

2) Just because an item isn't brand new doesn't mean it isn't valuable. Have you scored any fabulous finds at a second hand store or website? 

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As a matter of fact, just last week I found a lovely vase by Lefton (almost identical to the one shown above)  at a rummage store.  I was sending flowers to someone and wanted a pretty container for them and just ran in to see if perhaps there might be one among all the treasures. I was thrilled and so was the recipient of the arrangement. 

 3) This song is sung by The Stylistics, a group from Philadelphia. Have you ever been to Philly?
I have been to a whole of places but have never been to Philadelphia.  Perhaps I need to put that on our list of "places to go." 

4) This song was co-written by Thom Bell, a Philadelphia-based musician/producer who was born in Kingston, Jamaica. The average daily temp in Kingston in January is 87ยบ. Do you have plans to get away this winter and go somewhere warm?
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No, I do not, but I do have plans to head to Chicago next week and while I wish it would be warm, it will likely be very windy and cold.  It will be my first ever trip to Chicago and I'll be sharing more about it in the coming days.

5) The Stylistics took their choreography very seriously. As you can see from the video, they even carefully synchronized their hand movements. Do you use your hands much when you talk?
I'd say, not a whole lot, but I definitely do use them.  It's a whole lot more fun to talk while using your hands. ~chuckle~

6) The lyrics tell us that the singer is grateful for a friend who will walk with him along a path that "sometimes bends." Looking back on 2018, tell us about a time that life's path took a bend you didn't quite expect.

Sometimes it is best to keep life's unexpected path to yourself  and those that shared it with you. ~smile~
7) In 1974, when this song was popular, Chicago's Sears Tower opened and was for years the world's tallest building. Its elevators can carry you to the 103rd floor in approximately a minute. When were you last on an elevator? 

That would have been back in October when we were staying in a hotel and it was a very small hotel so the elevator only had to go to 3 floors.  But, I've ridden them many stories high and I've ridden on glass elevators that were on the outside and they just about unnerve me.

8) Also in 1974, the 55 mph speed limit was imposed nationwide. When you drive, are you careful to stay within the speed limit? Or do you have a led foot?

I am definitely NOT a speed demon.  I will drive 3-4 miles over the speed limit but I'm really not fond of driving over about 70 MPH.

9) Random question -- It's time to pose for your Saturday 9 yearbook picture. Will you show us your right profile, your left profile, or will you look directly into the camera?

I most often look directly into the camera.

Have a great first weekend of 2019!!!