Monday, September 8, 2014

Perseverance: A Woman's Work

   Repairing my house and learning all the skills needed to do so, has given me a great respect for the construction Men and Women who do this day in and day out. 

   It is really hard work to do a good job at making something beautiful.  Before this, I had never paid much attention to the details in the materials and tools….the types of putty and patching….which is the best type of putty knife to use to get the best even patch?  What grades of sand paper to use for what job? What kind of wall texture is there?  What the heck was “orange peal”? Do I use flat-paint, satin, semi-gloss or enamel? Primer or non-primer? One-coat or two? 

   The big thing for me was learning to use a Mitered saw. I did my research and bought a small 7 ½ in. saw that was easy to handle. The first hurdle for me was to get over my fear of the noise.  One can really loose their hearing being exposed to the high decibels for a long period of time.  That fast spinning blade was quite intimidating and its no joke to take special safety precautions and make sure your limbs and fingers are in a safe place before you make the cut.  I initially tried the less intimidating Mitered box that uses a hand saw. After two attempts at this and a sweaty brow, I knew it would be impossible  for me to cut 200+ feet of baseboards for my house project.  I just didn’t have the strength. 

   Strength! Wow, did I get a dose of reality!  Men are more suited to this type of work because it takes brute strength to do this. Unless you are a weight-lifter woman, the average woman is not equal in strength or muscle.  Even hammering a nail can be overwhelming to a little ole lady as myself. There were times I cried in frustration because I didn’t have the strength to do something, but graciously God gave me a brain to figure an alternate way to achieve the same result.  I had to accept imperfection in my work,  but I convinced myself that “No one will notice”……right?

  There were times that I questioned myself,  “What were you thinking, when you decided to do this  project yourself?”.  However, perseverance brought me confidence, added a measure to  my self-esteem,  and I saved a ton of money to have all I wanted repaired in my own timing.  I asked myself,  “Why? What do you hope to achieve?”  Beside the finished product, I thought about how I am husbandless. So many thoughts came to mind about Walter, my late fix-it handyman, and his absence caused me many tears. However, tears are cleansing.  Life goes on without him and I am trying the best I can. God is with me. He gives me strength. 

Prov. 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”
Prov 31: 17 “ She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 
Prov 31:26 “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

Sunday, August 24, 2014

To Everything there is a Season.....A time to weep and a time to laugh....Ecc. 3:1,4

   It’s amazing how God works in our lives. We may not fully understand why things happen the way they do, but in the end, when we trust him, he makes Romans 8:28 become real in our lives. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

   My oldest son’s family was finally able to move to their own place and I had my home back, although a bit lonely. A few months later, my youngest son decided a closer commute to work was more appealing, and I invited him back home. We have a lovely time learning to cook and experiment with new dishes. 

   I feel God teaching me to cope with my occasional sadness and celebrate the joys. My job of 23 years was ending this summer of 2014. Regardless of this anticipated loss, I took a big leap of trust and committed to a major kitchen, bathroom and laundry room remodel. A wall was taken down but God was gracious and the remodeling went very smoothly and the result was beautiful. It gave me joy to see the potential of entertaining again in this big house. One great joy in my life was the Wedding of my 2nd son. It was absolutely beautiful from start to finish. There is not been many times I had a chance to “gussy” up and have fun, and this was a beautiful celebration of love for a lifetime. 

Son Alan, Me, Nora & Robby, and son Scott
A beautiful dream reception
   One month after the kitchen remodel, a refrigerator water hose came apart and flooded almost the entire house overnight. Upon cleaning up, asbestos tile was found under the carpet and a major clean-up was done, paid for by my homeowners policy. I decided to do the remaining repairs myself and do all the things I wanted done and my contractor could not with the estimate they gave. One wonders if God had a hand in this? How is it possible that I was able to get everything repaired and still have money left from the insurance settlement?  Of course, if someone had to pay me for my labor, it might be a different story. But what did I gain? A lot….not just money. I learned a lot of new skills thanks to Youtube videos, gained some new tools and supplies. My confidence rose. This labor kept me busy and focused as I also applied for a new job.  I gained a few sore muscles too, but this was nothing compared to the results accomplished.

  So now I have a new remodeled house, a new job and a new life to look forward to as I use God’s gift for His glory. Praise God for his Blessings!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Thanksgiving seems to be a time of reflection. We look back at our lives and visualize the events we’ve experienced or…..survived and count our blessings. We even look at those things that were not such a blessing, because that experience is now part of our past, has molded us, and changed us to a wiser and smarter person… least in the respect of not repeating these things.

For me, the blessings have come in the shape of friends. Friends who will listen to you and hear your joys and sorrows. Friends to give you that hug and physical affirmation that you still are loved and cared for. Friends who will come to dine with you at the last minute to fill that loneliness that calls at your door. Friends who are wonderful traveling companions to share the beauty of life and excitement of seeing new things and places in the world. Friends to share and re-inspire one in creativity and handcrafts. I am so thankful to God for these people. Wow! It sounds just like a family….and that is what it is….a Christian family.

Since this was originally a knitting blog, I feel ready to resume some discussion of my projects here. Over the past year my friend Dona has inspired me to knit again. We have made multiple pairs of Slipper boots for Samaritans Purse which collects boxes to give to Needy Children for Christmas. These quick slippers have helped me feel I am accomplishing something. It is also reducing my stash, although, I must admit it has not cured my yarn addiction. This weekend was the year Yarn Sale at Michaels Crafts, and I just couldn’t say no. Is there a Yarn Addiction Anonymous meeting I can go to?

The stories of people suffering from the cold after Hurricane Sandy has inspired me to make hats and scarves. I am trying to knit as fast as I can to send these items to World Vision, who is collecting warm clothes for the East Coast. The cold weather has just started and there are many months of cold weather left to survive.

So as my life is in transition (a state of moving on) in life, I still struggle emotionally, but I have some rainbows to celebrate along the way. God gives me some joy and small purpose to keep me going. I have learned to appreciate solitude more. Although with two grandchildren living with me, it is not so easy to have that golden silence. Nevertheless, there are moments I can hear my thoughts and pray for God’s voice to speak to me.

Open my eyes, that I may see

glimpses of truth thou hast for me;

place in my hands the wonderful key

that shall unclasp and set me free.

Silently now I wait for thee,

ready, my God, thy will to see.

Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!

Open my ears, that I may hear

voices of truth thou sendest clear;

and while the wavenotes fall on my ear,

everything false will disappear.

Silently now I wait for thee,

ready, my God, thy will to see.

Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!

Open my mouth, and let me bear

gladly the warm truth everywhere;

open my heart and let me prepare

love with thy children thus to share.

Silently now I wait for thee,

ready, my God, thy will to see.

Open my heart, illumine me, Spirit divine!

(Hymn by Clara H. Scott)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Search for Inner Peace

As I travel through this tunnel of grief from my recent and not so recent losses, little did I know that it would feel this way. I have looked from afar at others who are grieving, and somehow I was oblivious to the internal sorrow and pain of memories one experiences….until now. I am reading all the grief books. I am forcing myself to be among people to support me and keep connected. I am seeing a life coach to help me make goals for myself…..but… long does this feeling of emptiness and sadness last? Is there an end in sight? I used to be so strong and able to get past the challenges I encountered, but now I am feeling my life is no longer the familiar entity I once lived and thrived.

The longer time passes the more I seem to feel deeply what is missing. I didn’t think I would have any regrets. I have tried my best to be a good wife, a good mother, a good daughter and good friend, but now I do have regrets. I keep thinking…..if I had done something different, would my life have been better….happier? Time was so preciously short and I regret not having had more time with the people I lost or made that time even more eventful than it was. However, it takes two people to try to make something special. Why are relationships so hard?

As each day passes, I see more things that trigger memories and mourn that I cannot share the joy of that memory with that lost person. Is life going to be this way from now on?

Ok….so perhaps you are thinking, as I used to…..”If life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”. In other words….”If old memories are painful, make new ones!”. Sometimes, this is not so easy as it sounds. There are internal obstacles to conquer and self confidence to restore. I feel I am no longer the same person I once was. Its all about baby steps. I feel the need to slow down, appreciate and contemplate the world around me. Right now, it is difficult to fit into the fast paced world we live in. I search for answers and coping in God’s Word. I will let him speak to me and show me how I now fit into his plan or not. I will take time to knit and crochet to help me feel productive and calm my heart and mind. I will listen to my new Gary Bonner CD called “Whatever is True” from Phillipians 4:8,9…

”And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me---everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (NLT).”

PEACE and LOVE……that is what I want.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Life is a Challenge!

A Spring Flower found on my Walk to relieve stress
Life is a challenge. This is the first line of a book I read called “A Road Less Traveled”. How true this is!!! Whenever I feel like I’m in a comfortable place and coasting along, life puts another hill to climb, another obstacle to cross and life becomes very complicated.

Yet, I think we grow and learn more about ourselves with each experience. It is up to US, whether we conquer and succeed, or succumb to failure. If there is one thing I’ve learned in dealing with challenges, it is you don’t have to be alone. There is love and support out there if you will only have the courage to accept it.

It’s all about choices. As a person, responsible for our individual lives we have a choice how we are going to act, and how we are going to feel. There is no one who can make us do this or that. I pray constantly for the guidance of the Holy Spirit that dwells within me, but it is my choice to act or not and I must be responsible for it. No sense in blaming others for mistakes. Blaming others doesn’t solve anything and is a waste of emotional energy. Have you ever seen anything solved when people blame others? Of course, it is nice to vent your frustrations and one might feel better, but it doesn’t solve the situation. It doesn’t move it along to find solutions. It might give one a sense of power and control but what good is that if the problem is not fixed. We might be having a feeling of anger at someone or something but we “choose” to feel this way, or we “choose to let it go”. And honestly, I am not perfect and sometimes feel I need to vent, too. I try not to dwell on anger too long. Frankly, I think people would have less problems with high blood pressure and stroke, if they would just learn to let go and let God deal with it.

In my life, when things get so overwhelming, I just have to give it to God. This means REALLY letting him handle it or letting him speak to you in his small voice. I find this can come in a strong feeling or a miraculous solution in my mind that has great impact. It can even come through another person God sends to help me solve the problem. I have faith in his promise that “All things work for good to those that love God and are called according to his purpose”. This is my favorite verse and God has never let me down.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Still hanging around

I know I haven't blogged in awhile, but I am still alive and somewhat well. It's been a very stressful few months. I really haven't felt up to sharing yet. I hope to get myself together soon and share more with you at a later time. "Life is a challenge". Im reading a really good book called "The Road Less Traveled." It has alot of good insight.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Grieving: The Lowest Point

 My Husband and My Father buried side by side. Both Marine Vets.
No matter how one tries to steer their course of destiny in life to avoid the hardships and the consequences, there comes a time when things just seem to fall apart… and this is my time…I have hit my wall….my lowest point…. In my grief journey….

After my husband passed away a little more than a year ago, I felt I was coping very well. I continued to engage in life and keep myself busy with work, with my family and friends. I found a purpose in including my friends in my interests and enlightened their lives as well as mine. Getting adjusted to a new boss and new management style was a challenge, but one that I dealt with one step at time. I missed my husband dearly but felt at peace that he would want me to carry on and be happy in my busy pursuits. I had made it past all the first year anniversaries, birthdays and special holidays without him by my side, with my mind and heart intact. I felt triumphant as a survivor. The word “surviving spouse” had a real special meaning and I was proud to say “that is what I am!”

So as the time came near the 1st anniversary of his death, I felt it time to do my final duty as his surviving spouse and bury his ashes, which was done in July, days before the anniversary of his death. Little did I know that all the strength and confidence acquired through the year of grieving would disappear and make it feel like I was at ground zero. Even taking the month off during this difficult month, just made me feel behind in my work, and playing catch up, which mangled my confidence even more. It became harder to focus and concentrate.

So then over the next three months, a series of grief and losses bombarded my life…changes at work, adding responsibilities, the layoff of my only assistant and other clerical staff because of budget loses, the decision by administration to take on more work without hiring enough staff to support changes, and then…….my dad died. My mentor and “compass”, whom I always went to for direction and guidance was no longer there….I was still reeling from the stress and losses when the straw that is breaking the camel’s back revealed itself…..just hanging by the slimmest of thread…the real possibility of my job position reduced to nearly nothing. Twenty years of working for the same place seemed like a new world now. Time to get rid of dinosaurs. I am feeling adrift and lost at sea.

So this is what the low point feels like?