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Archive for January, 2013

I don’t like how I look—not totally. I like some on the outside and some on the inside but in my heart, I am that girl on my about page—a girl seeking great things in life—a girl who is not satisfied with how things are. I have been working on what I haven’t liked—or trying to. For years, I sacrificed for my family which wasn’t wrong—totally, but it hurt me physically because I have not been able to do things like most moms would do and that’s ok…really. I am blessed and because of these blessings I am posting this photo from Savannah. I hate the way I look in this but I absolutely love this photo with the girls. These are my babies 🙂 and this is their mom. 😀

 

Savannah JAN 2013

 

Happy Gardening!

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I have been running into more problems and trying to deal with them the best I can. It will be hit and miss for a long time I am afraid. Each day seems to bring something else. I discovered it was much easier to deal with my situation when I didn’t dwell on how long it had been. I was doing so at first, thinking we were moving forward—anticipating reconciliation. I didn’t know he was moving forward without me but I questioned it several times. It almost looks as if it was all planned—well orchestrated—if you look back over the year with him carefully using me and still is in many ways and probably always will. I think some people find pleasure in using others like this. Things are about to turn very ugly in my world and I don’t want to be a part of it but that is not why I am writing.  

 

This coming weekend marks a year since my husband left taking very few physical things with him when he first walked out but stole so much—so very much and stole is a nice way to put it. In reality, he left a long time ago when he decided to give up on our vows—his vow with God and his vow with me as with all of his family, too. I have had people tell me that I was dwelling in self-pity and to some extent I did but I also have not revealed everything in this blog—there is quite a bit people do not know and will not know. I play my hand close to my chest—I have always been a very private person. I believe in the goodness of people even when I see bad but I for the life of me cannot understand a man who can turn his back on his family and not lift a finger to help his children even if he has left his wife behind in order to start a new life—not even to call and wish them Happy Birthday or give them a card—a dollar card or less—something? Someone said that I should not badmouth him to the girls—I didn’t and covered up for him for so long because he does all of it by himself, showing his true colors. We sow what we reap…and we reap what we sow.

 

On the flip side, I became tired of people feeling sorry for me. I have a friend who tells this meaning it very sincerely but it hurts each time I hear it. I don’t want pity and I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I have never wanted pity in all of my life. I have only desired understanding—knowing what it is like to walk in my shoes at times rather than judging. I try to do the same for others but I know I could do so much better. To me, I have many friends–and not superficial ones. These are friends, people, who would stop and give me the shirt from their back if I needed it and some have offered to that extent. I have an open invitation to some friends’ homes to live should I need it and I am unsure if that will not be the case before his year is over. There are people I have never met, some who read my blog, that are the same way. This humbles me more than anyone can know. 🙂 (topic for another posting 😀 )

 

When my husband left a year ago (shy a few days) he texted me with these words, “I’ll be back,” to let me know we were working on our marriage and also told me how much he loved and cared for me. I believed him. Whether he ever meant any of it…I don’t know…and in reality, it doesn’t matter. Whatever happens in life, whatever decisions we all make and consequences we have to live with, may they never be filled with regret and may we always show kindness to others. Excuse me while I take a moment. You may have noticed my absence lately. It is a daily step, a walk, a journey. My husband has not existed to me for two months now—I have done everything I can to purge his memory from my life but you know, the ghost still lives here, a memory just as if he were truly dead but seems to be everywhere and I refuse to allow myself to think in the manner that I did. There are many friends of mine who have lost their spouses to death. My heart is pained by their loss–a spouse who truly loved them. It hurts me even more because of their loss. (another topic for a blog posting 😀 ) 

 

Have a great Thursday and may all of your dreams become reality with no regrets while walking in the shoes of others. Happy Gardening! 😀

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While I was working on my masters, I took a part time job at a pizza place working on the weekends to take up my time because I had just broken up with the love of my life, the man that had planned to marry me. From those few hours per weekend, I became a shift supervisor then assistant manager and then manager, several

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restaurants later. I wanted to work with people because I had little experience with the public. My mom thought I was crazy not continuing with my teaching or even going into something computer related but I was a very shy person and to succeed, I had to come out of my shell—no easy task and lots of hurdles were not just jumped but knocked down over and over. It was as if I was practicing failing.

 

It wasn’t my nature to look people in the eye or anticipate their move or wants or needs but that was what I learned to do first by knowledge and then by instinct. I loved that job no matter which position I worked. I started in the back of the house which was a cook—haha. I did more gophering than anything at first. But, I learned to run a restaurant whether it was just me and a waitress or cook or a packed house of employees making record sales. I find myself missing it more lately though I can never return to that type of job. One of the most important lessons I tried to teach in service was to anticipate what the customer needed even before the customer knew. For those who learned this technique, the wait staff made lots of money in tips there and the jobs they held later on. I was good at my job I guess because I cared about it 😀 .

 

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I remember that I was scared so bad when I had to learn service duties. There was a waitress that tried to eat me alive on more than one occasion. And, she had help 😦 . There were nights I would go home and just cry not wanting to continue—and her position was lower than mine. I remember deciding that I was going to succeed with her and the rest followed behind. I was talking about courage with someone tonight. I had to learn to have courage to do so much. When I was made manager, there was no one to go to for help. I was where the buck stopped and I learned so much especially thinking on my feet. It was sink or swim and I chose to swim but I floundered in the water for quite a while.

 

I never asked my employees to do anything I wasn’t willing to do or had not done including sticking my hand in a toilet on more than one occasion. Some people called me a B word because I became very matter of fact. I hated that but there were times that I had to be the bad person. In fact, I tried to always be the bad person and let my assistants and shift leaders be the good guys. It is very hard to do that day in and day out but in the end I knew I could not be friends with my employees. That was difficult, too because I had to say goodbye to some good friends. They couldn’t see that I had a job to do.

 

Why am I writing about this? Courage…along with determination are two things I started to turn away from but I wouldn’t let myself fail. They are two things that follow me. For a long time I kept them packed away in a box. Only recently have I chosen to pull them out and put them on. I do not like to take NO for an answer and I don’t like to fail but I know what failure is and lately, I am doing more failing than succeeding. I have been revisiting a lot of my past so that I might become stronger and know where I am going—to be surefooted and to have stability in order to do the things I need to do. For so long I made all of the decisions for everyone—it was my job and I did it for my life, too. Over the past few years, I have lost my surefootedness but I am trying really hard to get it back. Courage…sometimes we have to be afraid before we can succeed. 😀

 

Happy Gardening and may you have all of the courage you need to succeed in everything you do! 😀

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Grace…what does it mean to you? Is it something that you can buy or something you can share? Is grace something you can hold in your hand? Do we even know what grace looks like as in can we recognize it when we see it?

 

I wrote a piece the other day for my Protect Your Heart blog called “Grace and Trust.” (link) I thought I needed to learn to trust again after being hurt so badly. I forgot about grace. Picture someone with a heart who wants to share that heart with another, maybe a few others–not serious but each time she gives that heart to Flowerssomeone she expects trust in return—she thirsts for trust because she wants to believe it still exists but she has certain stipulations on how that heart is treated in order for it not to be broken. In the effort she seeks this trust her heart is broken again, not by anyone meaning her pain. This may not make any sense to anyone but me, but I learned that trust cannot be given first—grace has to be given and shared before trust.

 

Grace means that things are not always going to work out. Grace means that we are all going to falter in some way. Grace means that she cannot trust completely because grace must be given first. Think of a suspension bridge. The bridge cannot be solid. It must bend and give whether it is because of wind or temperature, it must expand and contract and move. Trust is the expanse of the bridge—and grace is what holds it together. It is what gives when things don’t go just right. It is the understanding that life has no guarantees. A friend, a true friend, is there no matter what but a true friend will also tell you what you need to hear when the time is right. Grace is accepting that friend no matter what.

 

In the other blog I talk about trust and grace and I think the best thing I wrote was this… Grace is allowing a child to color outside the lines and then telling him or her that they did a great job—praising their efforts not just as efforts but their accomplishments as in—not correcting them. Nothing is perfect in this world but by grace we can accept others as they are. And, this is what God’s love is all about. As humans, we will all fall short of God’s glory but by His grace we all can be accepted by Him.

 

Life is a journey. We each are on our own path and sometimes struggle with our journey—some more so than others and some more so than other times. If it were easy there would be no self-help books, no DIY books, and no (fill in the blank) for Dummies books 😀 .

 

Grace…it is another thing that sets us apart from the animals. Empathy and grace…two things that are so important in caring for others. Wow! 🙂

 

Happy Gardening! May your journey be so blessed! 😀

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Once there were 4 plus a cat…now there are 2 and a cat…

The previous posting was about the large portrait of my G-GF. Before the daughter moved this past weekend, she and I went through the house inventory of furniture (and the portraits and such) so I would know what she wants to keep down the road—I want to know who wants what so there is no bickering later on. Believe it or not, she wants the portrait because of ties to my family—a stark contrast to the timid child of years ago but a mature one wanting to keep things that have been passed down through the generations. It is sometimes difficult holding on to so much memories—each piece has a tale to tell.

 

It was a long weekend for the move—first, extra long and then very tiring. Not everything fit in or on top of the car but she moved the essentials…enough to know that she is not here now. The strings have been loosened as she begins her journey. I wish her all of the happiness in the world! I cannot second guess this decision and can only give encouraging comments, my thoughts if it were me, and then be there when things do not go the way that is planned. Parenting is tough sometimes 😉 . I thought it would get easier but in fact, at times, it is much harder.

 

Conversely, this was the first time Simon was left on his own for more than several hours. He was so glad to see us when we returned. He is staying close to make sure we don’t leave again…well, not in the really near future. 😀

 

Things change. We change. Life changes. May we all have a center, a focus, that never changes 🙂 . Happy Gardening in all of your endeavors and most importantly…all of your journey! 😀

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On the wall at the bottom of the stairs hangs a large portrait of a man who is my great-grandfather—my paternal grandmother’s father (my dad’s mom’s papa). He is a rather handsome guy with his well-groomed mustache and those curly locks that are a family trait. His mustache was always well groomed in every photo I have of him by the way. My children were a bit scared of him (understatement)—his portrait—just as I was when I was growing up. I used to hide and could never look at him in the eyes 😀 . I never knew him and neither did my dad. He was called Clayton and my father who was born a few years after his death was named for him.

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I still have some of the family property that was settled over 200 years ago. The farm was where I grew up, where I have such fond memories. It is said that my G-GF’s grandfather was born in Ireland and had married a Scottish lass. I cannot confirm this definitely and there is not a paper trail that is conclusive on what generation was born in Ireland or where exactly they came from but by 1785 at least one had settled in the area and by 1793 there were enough of the family to name a settlement after them. A couple of years ago, I was shocked to find a plat (1793) with the settlement listed. I had no idea. The area lost its name for a while but then was renamed for the families back in the late 1800s. Now, that is all but a memory. My G-GF was the postmaster for this little hamlet and the post office sat out in front of the old farmhouse. In my grandmother’s photo album, there is a photo of my G-GF on his horse and I have found newspaper writings of people talking about him delivering the mail. Today, very, very few of the surnames are left in the area and the road that was named for them that we lived on has been changed.

 

There is much that is unknown to me about our family history but there is quite a bit that I do know and that is how they treated others—always helpful—always courteous—always respectful. There have been times where I will forget and will get angry when I am provoked but this is not the way I was taught. I do not know the reasons for this family line settling in America but most likely it was to have a new chance at life. The story goes that there were two men—two brothers who came to America. One went north and one south. Why? I have no clue and I cannot confirm this. As I dug into the family history, I discovered that I have more questions than answers. Even the pronunciation of the name has changed—Americanized? Maybe. I may never know the story and yet I do know. The family that I knew were pious, modest, and simple. They never wanted glory, prestige, wealth, or power because they had more–more than they ever needed. 🙂

 

I love life. At times, I find that there are enormous barriers that get in my way—more than small obstacles–more like stone walls. I have to remember where I came from—my roots—my family and sometimes I have to be reminded. 😉

 

Happy Gardening! May all of your memories of family be wonderful! Take care and be blessed! 😀

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I have some strange tastes in music or so I am told because I love so many different types of music. Let it first be said that I really love someone who can play a piano so well and a great sounding grand piano is to die for. Wow! Maybe these are my first loves 😀 . I can listen to a guy play a piano forever and never tire of it. Ok, back to reality, Amy.

 

I discovered that there was other music in 1970—rock ‘n roll 😀 . Someone asked me the other day what my favorite song was and I have so many secular and non-secular favorites. As for secular, it is still “The Long and Winding Road” by the Beatles. I wasn’t a Beatles fan but I love this song. Other music genres include classical, pop, and believe it or not bands that were hard core rock ‘n roll and heavy metal of the late 1980s like Guns n Roses, Twisted Sister, and such. There was a love of country but for certain reasons I have pushed country to the back for now—far, far back. I absolutely love the Moody Blues and I listened to the Bee Gees way before Saturday Night Fever came along when they sounded so whiny no one wanted to listen to them. As for non-secular… “The Old Rugged Cross” has to be my favorite still and I may get criticized for this but I love music from the musical Godspell particularly “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” and “Day by Day.” This is just a very small portion of my likes and loves.

 

I love music. I love musical instruments. I practiced piano and organ for years and could only read music until later in life where I learned to really hear and play music. Music is like many things of life—it comes from the heart even if it is a piece being played by someone—they play from the heart. It is part of our creative way of life—creating, playing, and enjoying. Music, no matter what the style will speak to people, even animals. It is something that heals, soothes, and helps us grow with a positive outlook.

 

Something that has helped me to move on with my life is music—some new, some old. I haven’t really bought music in a while so the last of October I purchased a collection of Irish and Celtic songs—oh, what an excellent decision I made. Then in November it was a collection of fantastic music by Audiomachine and in December I was back to non-secular music. I had forgotten how much music is a part of me. It makes me smile and helps to keep that song in my heart.

 

I love music and my girls do, too. Both learned to play guitars—acoustic, electric, and bass. They have played electric keyboard and one played a tuba in the school band 🙂 . I think since I didn’t push them to practice piano like I had they developed a love for music early on. I know I began to dread my time at the piano and organ—I never wanted that for my children. And, you know what? They can sing, too! 😀

 

I hope you love music. Here is a sample of what I love…

 

 

Other songs:

  • It Is Well with My Soul
  • Awesome God
  • In the Garden
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  • Seek Ye First
  • Because He Lives
  • I Am Bound for the Promised Land 
  • Shout to the Lord
  • The More I Seek You
  • Many songs by Enya
  • Could I Have This Dance by Anne Murray
  • Remember When by Alan Jackson
  • So very many songs of the 1970s and 80s
  • Songs by artists of today and so many more songs that there is not room to add them all 🙂

 

May your day be filled with peace and happiness and may your gardens grow with great vigor! Happy Gardening! 😀

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We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in Savannah Friday leaving before the sun rose and getting home not quite midnight…  We met with my dad’s first cousin and her husand along with two of their children whom I had not met before. It was so much fun to visit and eat lunch with them. I have not seen the cousin in a few years. Then very late that afternoon, it was off to River Street to get some sweets–no other shopping or eating. We got more than fudge…pralines and truffles, too. So delicious but back to healthy eating once it is all gone 😦 . Finally, we drove out to Tybee and walked along the beach—at the beginning of January–watching the sun set. Several people were out surfing. The water was pretty warm. You know I had to put my feet in. 😀

Tybee Jan 2013

Tybee Jan 2013

I love the above photo. It was taken at twilight just as the one from the previous blog posting (see photo below). To see my girls laughing and happy means the world to me!!! There has been a lot of pain and tears between the time these two photos were taken.

Tybee Nov 2011

Tybee Nov 2011

It was a packed day–too much time on the road but it was fun. There were thoughts of memories past but the best part of the trip was making new ones. We never know when the last time we will see someone, so I try to give (and take) an extra hug just in case. You never know… In fact, this cousin called Saturday morning to say her husband’s only living brother had a heart attack. 😦  Give and take an extra hug when you are with loved ones just to make sure and to savor the moment.

Tybee

The day was a prized treasure—a jewel along the way. New friendships are being formed—much needed family bonding—and it makes my heart so happy to know that this is my family 😀 . I went “home” Friday even though I have never lived there in Savannah—it is my home. I wish we had spent the night but it would have been that much harder to leave and say goodbye. 🙂

 

Live life to the fullest, love well, and try never to have any regrets being happy and bringing happiness to others…always! Happy Gardening! Take care! 😀

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Tybee Nov 2011

Tybee Nov 2011

Savannah is such a beautiful city. It lies along the Savannah River–the same river that I live along now, and did when I was growing up–a stretch of less that 150 miles from here to there. Tybee Island (the beach) lies just east of the city, at the mouth of the river. There are historic landmarks all around from forts to historic homes, cemeteries to places that play a part in our nation’s history. The only thing I don’t like is that it is hot and humid—many times more so than here. I am willing to visit any day or night except March 17th 😐 . There are so many memories I have of this place. Years ago, River Street was revitalized. It is not exactly the same as it used to be 2-300 years ago, but there are telltale signs of the past. A popular tourist “trap” landmark that I actually love is the Pirates House (link) due to the food and stories as well as memories.

 

Cotton Exchange

Cotton Exchange

My father was born in Savannah and my ancestors came here on special occasions. I have a receipt where my great grand-father bought a dress suit here in 1888. Did he sell his cotton here? I’m not completely sure but cotton was sold along Factor’s Walk back in the day. Today, I enjoy eating at places that served as warehouses and offices such as the Boar’s Head Restaurant and Pub and have been going there since 1981 when a certain young man who had captured my heart asked me to prom—yeah—a long way to go for a date lol but I did say he captured my heart. There are times when I feel my blog is becoming more of romance stories than anything else but it just my remembering some of the good times of the past 🙂 .

 

The city squares are beautiful in the spring with the azaleas blooming, the birds chirping and butterflies everywhere. I remember feeding pigeons at the fountain when I was very small. Savannah has been my second home all of my life. Today, we are on our way to visit the last cousin from my dad’s family. We will eat great food and have a wonderful visit and bring home eat some great fresh fudge from River Street. You know what is even greater? It will feel like home 😀 .

 

Have a wonderful day and enjoy it to the fullest! Happy Gardening! 😀

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In 1970, when I was about 10 years old, I began to have seizures because I was not getting enough oxygen to my brain. The blood flows so quickly through the AVM that I do not receive enough O2 and that is why I must take a prescription called phenytoin—Dilantin for the brand name. It is a sodium based compound that dilates my blood vessels allowing even more blood to flow—very high pressure through the arteries and veins in the left side of my brain. I have talked about this before.

 

Last year, I had an angiogram to see if there was a chance that anything could be done to repair, remove, or kill off the AVM because it has been growing. The surgeon along with others believe the AVM should be left alone–that if anything is done I would be left paralyzed or dead because this nasty little bugger is located in the motor sensory part of my brain—the surgeon calls it the motor strip. The AVM is large. I used to have a problem talking about this with people–not so much now, but as dramatic as this all sounds, I live by the grace of God and have peace with that. It seems others do not. As good friends that I have and I am so thankful for each one, some believe that I just need to find the right doctor or increase my faith so that I might be healed. I put my faith in the Lord. I am about to be 53 next month 🙂 . I know who gives me life and I do not pity myself or my situation. I am thankful and am so appreciative of each day because I know each one is a true gift.

 

Yep, this is my brain :)

Yep, this is my brain 🙂
My apologies…

I write today because a good friend has recently discovered someone with an AVM and she believes it is just like mine and that I should see this doctor out west so that I can be “cured.” She has good intentions but she does not understand. I do not need to be whole—not physically. I want to tell this to this friend and have tried but I risk hurting her feelings. I fully believe that I do not need to be healed as in made like everyone else. We all have our imperfections. My life is my witness and I have talked about the miracles that I have experienced along the way. I cannot ask for anything more than what I already have.

 

I love this lady dearly but people sometimes want everything to fit perfectly in a neat little box, round hole, or definitive classification. Sometimes—many times—God calls us to trust Him and walk on faith. After all that has happened last year…that is the only way I can do—walk on faith. If you have imperfections, please come to peace with them and with God. He can heal and will do so and miracles happen every day but God doesn’t heal everyone completely and honestly, I am so very happy He doesn’t—not me! Please understand what this means. I need my imperfections and others need to see them, too. SMILES 😀 

 

May God be glorified in everything and may your gardens grow beautifully producing plenty of bounty! 😀

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