10 Things I Needed Quiet Time to Remember

It's one of those "I'm so grateful" days. Nothing spectacular has occurred, I didn't win the lottery or anything. I simply had some quiet time this morning, and I noticed the many blessings in my life.

Do we need quiet time to recognize all that we've been given?  Yes.

When life is frantic and I just run from thing to thing, my overall mode is "hurry up and finish this, there are ten more things I have to get to." That's a perfect recipe for becoming cranky and then resentful. When I can't really pay attention to the task I'm in, I'm certainly not going to appreciate what I'm doing and why it's important. Think of Road Runner's legs. Spinning and spinning, moving through everything instead of being fully present.

So, this morning, it was quiet and I read Jesus Calling (several days' worth, because I was behind.) And in the quiet, blessings bubbled up.

1. Today is our daughter's birthday. She's a blessing in so many ways, and also a feisty testament to life. As a toddler, she had a severe seizure that caused her to stop breathing. If not for one doctor, well...you can read about that HERE.

2.  Grandson James. This sweet child gives me the opportunity to just stop and hold a baby. If he's fussy, or feeding, or sleeping, he has my full attention. He puts life in perspective.

3. Our older son and his wife visited recently. They drove to Florida from Virginia to meet James. We took lots of family pictures (because we're rarely all together) and I got lots of hugs. I have to say, there is nothing a mom loves more than having all her youngin's together. All the pieces of her heart reconnect. And if the youngin's don't gripe about getting numerous family photos, that's icing on the cake. Thank you, youngin's!

4.  After four months of unemployment, our younger son has a job. This son is the father of James, and husband to our sweet DIL, so we all had anxious hearts about how this new little family would manage. But, our son is resilient and our DIL is supportive, so they are working it out. We're so proud of how they are growing through this challenge.

5.  After a head injury this week, the hubs is fine. At work, a piece of equipment hit him in the head. He needed 6 staples in his scalp, but has no other damage. He doesn't even want me talking about it, so don't mention it.

6.  Mom's treatment for lymphedema is working. Her legs looked like tree trunks, but after two weeks of special wrappings, she's on the mend. Once treatment is over, she'll have to wear compression stockings, which she's not looking forward to. Life at 95 is not as much fun as it used to be.

7.  Dad is getting new glasses. After sitting on/rolling on his wire frames a thousand times, they were shot. Pliers and duct tape didn't work anymore. He's getting titanium frames. Seems fitting for his titanium spirit. 

8. We're getting a new dishwasher. In comparison to loved ones and jobs, this is an insignificant thing. But once the current dishwasher starts depositing rust stains on the plates, it's time.

9.  My Visa bill is at 0 again. This only happens about twice a year, so I like to highlight it when it occurs.

10. I'm eating dark-chocolate malt balls for breakfast. I really have to stop this, because my inflammation numbers are up a little, and I know sugar is the culprit for me. I'm my own worst enemy. The good news is that in heaven, I won't have to deal with any more of this nonsense.

What blessings have you missed recently because life is too hectic? Make quiet time a priority (that's the only way to do it), and you will be reminded of how much God loves you.

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MacGyver, Where Are You?

I took a three-hour nap a few days ago. My husband was watching reruns of MacGyver while I dozed. Every time I stirred, Mac was rescuing a hostage, racing through shrubbery, or stuffing potatoes into exhaust pipes. That guy was so cool.

We need to resurrect Angus MacGyver (yep, Angus was his first name.)  He could help with so many things here in the Ballpark:

1. He could rig the dishwasher to load itself.

2. Ditto for the washer.

3. He could fashion a drive way track that would guide the trash cans down to the curb and back again.

4. He could make a safe grapefruit peeler out of a razor blade and a toothbrush. It takes a long time to peel a grapefruit like an orange, but that's how we like 'em.

5.  He could make a lizard catcher. We're just too slow when it comes to getting them out of the house here in Florida.

6.  He could create a hanging rope that would allow me to swing down to the first floor instead of risking tripping down our 14 steps, which I did recently. He'd probably need more than duct tape to accomplish this one.

7.  He could wire the kitchen cabinet so when I'm tempted to steal a piece of dark chocolate, I get a shock. Drastic times; drastic measures.

I'm feeling overwhelmed these days. Writing is calling me, my adult children and their spouses have become fun adult friends to hang out with, baby James is around, allowing me smooches and snuggles, and my parents are becoming more fragile every month. And then there's all this stuff MacGyver could be helping with.

I love the people in my life, and I want to be available to them, so I'm thinking something has to change.

Therefore, I'm creating a newsletter.

HA! It sounds like lunacy, but I believe it will streamline my writing, which will free up some time to love on the people I love, peel grapefruits, and catch lizards. (Doesn't look like MacGyver is coming anytime soon.)

I'll keep blogging, but less frequently, and the newsletter will alert you as to when a new post is up. There are so many things I want to write about and touch on and research...my newsletter will have quick updates, inspirational morsels, links to projects/recipes/news items, my favorite books, and more. I hope you'll sign on, so we can stay in touch.

I promise it will take less time (because you probably have grapefruit/lizard issues too) to read my newsletter than to read a blog post. You may want to click on enclosed links, or not; I'll just make them available to you.  My goal is to bring practical, grace-filled, substantial, and humorous treats into your life. You might be overwhelmed too, and just need an encouraging face in your inbox.

I value your input and would also like to know what topics bring you to the Ballpark - the caretaking issues, my faith journey, DIY projects, chasing wellness, or whatever (even the ex-clown.)  If you want to hear my thoughts on something new, write that in the box. We'll take this journey together!

As always, thank you for sharing in my life.

I just did some research and discovered MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) is 66 years old now. He's probably tired of saving the world, so I guess I'll have to let him off the hook from helping me out around here. 

I do think he could make a grapefruit peeler while he's plopped in his recliner though.


93 and Counting...

Dad is 93 years old today.  I can't believe I just wrote that.

I've never really known anyone who was 93 years old.  I can't fathom all those years. So much history, so many lives encountered. So much laughter, and heartache. Here he is in the Navy, a period of time he loved, with a buddy. Dad is on the right, with the big smile.

My dad has lived a full and energetic life. He has lived longer than his father did; he has outlived five of his siblings and one child. He has seen this country change in ways that make him disheartened.

He wants to be 25 again. He believes, somehow, some way, some doctor will make that possible. He is eternally optimistic about this. His doctors tell me that's why he is still with us: he has hope.

I have never met anyone with such unflagging faith that heart disease can be turned around and Parkinson's can be cured. It's just a matter of time. And he'll be here when those discoveries occur.

Dad with my brother, who had a broken arm.

I'm a bit ashamed to admit I'm not that optimistic. About anything. I pretty much think life is one ridiculous stumbling block after another, and at some point I'm going to wear out and be ready to be done with all this foolishness. So much of what we do here on the planet isn't that important (how many movies can we watch on Netflix?), so I'm not that attached. I'm already tired.

Then, I spend time with Dad and feel a bit guilty I don't wholeheartedly embrace every day, every hour as an adventure. I don't know how he does it, gets up every day, looking for the next fun, exciting, miraculous thing. He fights the aging process, the fatigue, the disabilities. I have to think, as a child, he was probably a handful. I bet his mom was tired.

Dad with our daughter, who is now a science teacher. They are very much alike. They have a weekly date. 

Today is an amazing day, because Dad will be embarking on his 94th year. There will be so many opportunities for more adventures. We are giving him a gift card to Home Depot, so he can buy some new plants (gardening is one of his loves) and tickets to choral concert (music is his other love.) We cancelled the big Hershey bar, because he was told by two separate doctors this week that he needs to give up sugar.

Dad told me recently he thought it would be great to make it to 100. I asked him why. He replied, "I'd sure get a lot of attention." Then, he grinned. Dad loves people, he's an extrovert to the core. Life is one big party that he does not want to end.

Dad with one of his 8 great grand children

I'm so grateful God gave my Dad to me. He has always been a wonderful father, a man of conviction and great humor. It is very sad to see him decline, and I know someday the party will end. I pray daily that it will be quick, and that he will be in heaven before he realizes the door is closing on this gig.

Here's a picture of Dad on his 90th birthday. Can't you just see the five-year old in there?



All Bundled Up, and My Message to Moms

The party's over...

THE ULTIMATE HOMEMAKING BUNDLE is now bundled up and retired for awhile. The good news is that there will be a "flash sale" at some point in the next 6 months where this bundle will be available for one weekend. If you missed the bundle this past week and you'd like an email notice as to when the flash sale will be, drop me a line here, and I'll let you know.


There's another bundle coming soon called THE HEALTHY LIVING BUNDLE that might interest you as well. THANKS to my peeps who purchased the HOMEMAKING bundle. I pray it blesses you like it did me!

During the BUNDLE sale, I was at the computer 24/7. Feeding the family went out the window. I thought any busy mom would appreciate this badge I spotted recently.

HA! Love it. Today, I'm still pooped, but I might be able to rustle up Thursday's meal.

Here's my message to every mom this Mother's Day weekend: know that what you do is invaluable. We moms never knew that once we had a child, our heart would jump outside our body and hang off our shoulder, exposed to every ecstatic brush of love and every scrape of heartache.

It's how God loves us, ladies. With an exposed and vulnerable heart. We are so blessed to have a Creator who cares about our laughter and our tears. He is the ULTIMATE PARENT, and we will never find a better guide on how to direct our wonderful, aggravating, delightful, unruly, priceless children. Even when they're 40.

So to all moms: be gentle with yourself.  Realize you are going to make mistakes, but so will your children. It's not a perfect system. God can redeem everything. 

So, on Sunday, give yourself a hug and don't do any dishes. I love you!


A Free Gift for Moms - Final Day!

I've been posting this week about a project I've been invited to take part in (more on that TOMORROW!), and I'm excited to share different aspects of project, the first of which has been a free video series for moms. 

This is the final day of availability for this series: 10 THINGS MOMS NEED TO HEAR ON HARD DAYS It's a collection of 3 videos (15 minutes each) by two down to earth moms who encourage all women to quit beating themselves up for not being perfect mothers and homemakers.

I wish I'd had such encouraging advice 30+ years ago when I first became a mom. I learned so many things the hard way, stumbling through the challenges and expectations and emotions that come with raising children. I was too hard on myself.

Me with our first born in 1977

Even now, helping our grown children and my aging parents, I'm still gaining mom skills. We moms mother our loved ones all of our lives. I can almost guarantee, when you consider your own motherhood journey, you're too hard on yourself as well.

We come into motherhood assuming we're going to get it right all the time, and instead we shed many tears over our unintentional and unexpected mistakes. We discover we're just human after all; it's so disappointing to realize that! :-)

The most important thing I've learned over the years is that only God is a perfect parent. We need to keep that in mind first and foremost. Then we need to remember that He's with us every difficult step of the way.

Beyond that, this video series has 10 excellent truths about how to approach the challenges of motherhood in a realistic way. This is one of my favorites:

Lies seem like truth when we're tired. Moms run on chronic fatigue. I've been tired for 39 years. When our brains don't have enough rest, every small misstep feels like a massive, unrecoverable failure. We need loved ones to put things in perspective for us, and then send us to bed for a nap.

No matter where you are in your motherhood journey, I urge you to check out this sweet, unpretentious video series made by two moms in the thick of it (they even share how often they change their bed sheets), and please share it with all the moms you know. We need to defy the damaging #momfail culture!

 TOMORROW, more resources for all women!  I'm super excited about a special e-book bundle that launches at 8 a.m. April 27.  Hope to see you here in the Ballpark tomorrow!