Thursday, October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday

One of my favorite stories of all times . It sure happens to be a funny one . All true , folks , none of it made up . It actually happened . It's been a long time since that day , yet it still provides a smile . 

Uncharted Waters

   It's Monday and a scary week for me . Tomorrow ,  I'm starting a different chemo and I'm a little worried about the side effects it will have . Not to mention " my other problems " that keep resurfacing over and over again . Even my car is starting to act up again . It all is coming to a head this week .
   So since it is Monday , I want to change the whole attitude of this week and approach it in a light-hearted , funny way . Here is a story I wrote about a day Emily and I experienced at Schiller Woods . Hope this puts a smile on your face as you start your week .............

Hello everyone!
                      Today, Emily did the unbelievable!She took her cat Diamond to the woods for an adventure and for some exercise.Yes,it sounds unbelievable but it really happened.
                    The only way I can explain how the process went getting Diamond from the house into the car is just think of trying to give a cat a bath.Lets just say that my daugther was the one who ended up with both her knees skinned.Ouch!!!
                    Did I forget to mention that Diamond was on a leash?Yes,in our house we believe in cat walking instead of dog walking.
                      Once we made it to the woods , she quite behaved herself and for a minute we actually thought she loved it.She found a spot under a fallen branch under a tree.Again, it was the bath scene as we tried to get her from the tree to the car.She stuck her claws into the tree trunk hugging it meowing nooooooo!!! I don't wanna goooooo!!!!We , of course , assumed she was enjoying herself but ,alas, that wasn't so.As soon as we opened then door to the house she made a run for it like the devil was after her with Emily still holding the lease.Comedy central around here .Who needs t.v.What did you guys do today?
    Oh yes,let's not forget the couple of rose bushes that got in the way.I think it was more of an adventure for Emily.

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Desired Place

If there is one thing we detest , it's moving . Don't get me wrong , we don't mind the packing or unpacking , but the carrying of boxes up and down stairs is not our favorite thing .  For that reason alone , we like to settle down for a bit before moving on somewhere new . 

Though  the prospect is never far from our minds , we are very careful in choosing what we like , weighing the pros and cons . Usually that involves making a list of things we are looking for  and then we pray on it . 

We take this very seriously . Why not , choosing a place that can serve as our sanctuary from the outside world is serious business . You know how I feel about my little niche ! 

So what are we looking for ? Well  . . . . 

I want a small corner  somewhere , like a back porch , where I can keep all my crocheting things . Right now , my bedroom doesn't resemble a bedroom at all . I can't even remember the last time it even looked like one . The room is filled with boxes of yarn , boxes of crocheted items ready for shipment , looms etc . 

We want a place with laundry facilities on the premises . You wouldn't believe how many apartments in the city don't have one . 

A place with a parking spot would be great , but  an area with lots of available parking would be appreciated , too . 

Something we've always wanted ? A balcony or patio . We could grow potted tomato plants ( which I secretly miss ) . We could spend an evening or morning outside enjoying the view , plus  even have a BBQ in a mini smoky joe !

Also , a pantry or breakfast room that can be turned into a storage  space . 

Oh , one more thing . No more pedestal sinks in the bathroom . A bathroom needs space for accessories !

That's it ! Of course , the price has to be agreeable , too . It would be nice if a Church was within walking distance , but that's another story . 

I know eventually it will happen . The time will come for us to leave this place here  and it will be hard. WE have many great memories that were shared with the people in our life . I also know , there are many more to be made . 

Have a Blessed day everyone . 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Don't worry , I'm not crazy . I know it's only Tuesday , but once again , I have fallen back and ran out of time . The story of my life , folks . Since I had the following story already prepared for this Thursday , I will post it today . 

It's a gorgeous Fall day outside , so let's enjoy it and not stress out over being an underachiever . We have good days and we have bad days . Shake it off , shake it off . 

The only things that have changed on my top ten list are the reality shows . My favorites now are Love and HipHop , all Alaska shows and Mountain Men . Hey , we all have to live a little . 

My Top Ten List

    Since this is my second bout with cancer ,  I have discovered that I have a routine , a repetition of  things that I only do when I have cancer . This just came to me yesterday in the waiting room . Funny , the things we think about when we have time . Here is my top ten list of things I only do when I have cancer.

10. I found that I have great patience when I have cancer . I can sit in the doctor's waiting room without a complaint . I also found that as soon as the cancer goes in remission , so does my patience .
9. I have also found that I can out burp , out belch and pass gas better than any sailor out there . Come on  , challenge me !
8. Another great accomplishment ....I can crochet like a mad woman !!! I can whip out blankets faster than a rabbit can have babies !
7. I also have found that I have a whole collection of books , journals and puzzles of every kind you can imagine that I only take out during cancer and doctor visits . Seriously .
6. I have found that I do not screen my calls but answer every single one . I write letters and remember everyone's birthday . I send out e-mails . I answer e-mails .
5. I have found that I accept every invitation sent my way . A baby shower ? I'm coming . A potluck dinner ? I'll be there . If you don't see me at a function , it just means I went somewhere else .
4. I have found that I have become a Reality T.V. junkie . I'm just glued to People's Court . I mean where else would I have learned the phrase ,"stick a fork in me ...I'm done ." Then there is Hoarders .Yeah! I'm mean , it's a relief that someone else's house is messier than mine . Then there is Toddlers and Tiaras . Certainly makes me feel like a better mom . But my all time favorite happens to be Storage Wars. I have no idea why I love this , but I do .
3. I have found that I love and appreciate my family more .I see them through rose colored glasses . Things that would annoy before seem to stop when my cancer comes back . I'm sure the minute I go into remission those rose colored glasses will develop a crack .
2. I have also noticed that the devil follows me around more trying to cause havoc and discouragement . When he does , there is always someone who calls , or writes or sends a card to cheer me up . So he really never catches me . Ha !
1. Now here's my favorite thing I found about having cancer . I do not have to pluck , shave or wax anything on my body ! Yeah , that deserves a number one.

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Moments

This is from a series we did on God Moments in our life . Where did the God Moments come from ? Well , from all of you . I hope there have been many more moments since then . Enjoy . 

God Moments
   Well , everyone , here are some God Moments . I hope you find them inspirational as much as I did .

Random Lake , Wisconsin
I had all 4 of my children in our old station wagon.    We were going to the library in Random Lake.   We had to cross a two lane, busy, highway.   I stopped at the proper place and then proceeded to cross the highway.   However, the car quit right there in the middle of the road.   I tried and tried to get it started.  It just clicked and clicked, but didn't fire up.   I looked to my right and saw a car coming in that same lane.   I tried again and still the car wouldn't start.   I just breathed a prayer "God help us".  When I looked again there was a policeman and he had poistioned himself in the right lane and turned on his emergency lights and that car stopped.
The officer came to us and asked what was the matter.   By then I was crying and told him I just couldn't get the car started.   He just told me to take the car home and have my husband fix it.   I said "Yes, I will" and with that I turned the key and the car started right up.
God is the only one who could have had that policeman at that post at the very time we needed him and also helped get the car started again right then.
That is the God Moment that I remembered as soon as I read Lottie's request.   Praise His Name!!

Savoy , Illinois
The Lord is My Defender
I was a babe in the Lord, and a newly divorced single mother of four young children. When I look back, I realize how mercifully and tenderly God walked with me through the nightmare of those painful days.
Trying to raise four children on a very meager $8 an hour job, quickly brought me to the brink of disaster. My ex-husband, financially secure and reveling in his newly minted play-boy life style, glanced at the situation and saw his opportunity to end the burden of paying child support. He sued me for full custody of our children, something he knew I would never voluntarily allow.
He had the financial resources and the connections to hire the BEST ATTORNEY    in town. I had no resources to HIRE AN ATTORNEY    at all. In complete ignorance of the way the legal system worked, I thought I would just go to court and I would be assigned an attorney, since I didn't have one! I didn't know this only applied to criminal cases – not CHILD CUSTODY    battles. He taunted me in the days leading up to the court appearance that I should just not even bother showing up – I didn't stand a chance of winning since he was a well-respected professional in the community and I was a 'nobody'. Even though I was intimidated by the whole court scene, I had no intention of walking away from my children without a fight. He should have known me better than that.
Behind all of the saber rattling from my ex-husband, I turned to the only source I knew for help – the Lord. With all of the excitement and passion of most new born babes in the Lord, I 'ate' the Word of God like a starving woman – I simply could not get enough of the Word. I was desperate for God. I knew it and He knew it. I told Him every day. 'I need You, Lord, I need You. Every hour, I need you...'
On the day of the court hearing, I went to court with my knees knocking and my hands trembling. I was aware that I was vulnerable and could lose custody of my children – many of my friends had done just that. This was a crucial turning point in my life and theirs. I walked into court alone. Except for the Lord...
I sat in a back row and watched as one case after another (all custody hearings) were called before the court. One after another, I saw the judge rule in favor of the one parent that had shown up in court. There was no contest. The parent that didn't show automatically gave away the children to the other parent. It was chilling to me and heartbreaking that a parent would dispatch his or her children so easily. Suddenly, my name was called and I approached the bench, as my husband and his high priced attorney jaunted forward, seemingly so sure of themselves that they were almost laughing on the way up the aisle to the bench.
Almost before my name was read, my ex-husband's attorney announced that I should lose custody of my children because of my inability to provide for them adequately. My ex-husband quickly added that he had brought witnesses with him that could testify to my inadequacy as a mother. Before he finished his sentence the judge slammed the gavel down, silencing the verbal onslaught from my husband and his attorney. Leaning over his desk and looking at me directly, I heard this judge ask me in a voice dripping with compassion, “Honey, do you want your children?” Answering immediately, all I said was “Yes, Your Honor, I do.” My ex-husband interrupted quickly to remind the judge again that he had brought witnesses with him to speak against me as a fit mother. The judge glared at him over the desk, and advised him sternly not to interrupt again or he would be found in contempt of court. Once again leaning over the bench like an affectionate father, he advised me that 'this man' (my ex-husband) might push this as far as it could go and, in the event that he should bring me back to court again, I should look into finding a lawyer to represent me well. Ending by smiling at me with a look of understanding and wisdom as to the game that was being played, he slammed the gavel down once again and ordered that the children be returned to me immediately as their mother.
I have never forgotten that day. I knew that God had gone into the court room with me and, against all human odds, had presided over the court proceedings on my behalf. He had placed a judge on the bench that saw through the facade of money and prestige that my ex-husband thought would win the day. I had no lawyer. I had no money. I had no knowledge of the court system and how it worked. All I had was The Lord. He showed up that day and fought or me. I had met my Defender.  And He was all I needed...

Des Plaines , Illinois
Hi. As you know my husband had a stroke. The miracle here is that he was not suppose to live. Its been over a year now and the drs and specialist are still talking about he's not suppose to be here. I believe the  GOD moment is that someone told me to call 911 when I did.  To me he just seemed sick. he was throwing up. But something inside my head told me to call 911. They told me in the ER that if I didnt call when i did he wouldve never made it to the hospital. Even all along his recovery, they were telling me he was paralyzed on the right side, hes not, hes paralyzed on the left side, not. They told me his eyes were paralyzed and he would be blind. Not. I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed. Today my husband is home, hes talking (with a slur but you can understand everything he says). He walks with a walker but is still learning to walk. I felt GOD with me the whole time. And still. I believed in GOD before, but now its a whole new faith I have. They tell me at the hospital they use his story as a inspiration story to other patients and Loved ones.  He is still learning and progressing. We don't know how much further he is going to recuperate, but as long as i keep seeing improvement, I will learn right along with him.

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Pressure Is On

Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neckPsalm 69:1
I just love the above verse . Don't we all feel like that at one point or another in our life ? I know I do, especially lately . 
Things have been pretty hectic around here with all these changes happening whether we want them to or not . 
Health Insurance enrollment
Dental and Doctor appointments
Sudden changes at work 
The crocheting ministry
Financial ups and downs
Car , car , car
A new place to live or not
A new job or not 
Literary Challenges 
The pressure is on to make decisions that maybe we are not ready to make . The last thing we want to do is make the wrong ones . Even minor decisions can affect everything in our life . We've made too many mistakes in the past to go lightly on these .
So we leave all the very important ones to the side , waiting for a sign from God whether it's time or not . The others ? We can only go step by step , day by day , hour by hour . The pressure is still there , but breathing deeply helps . 
Life's pressures really can overtake our lives if we allow them . We need to be diligent in making time for stress relievers . I love my weekends , especially a day like today where I can write and crochet in peace and relaxation . 
Find your stress reducer and bask in the harmony and balance it provides to our life . Happy Sunday everyone . 
Have a Blessed day .

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Letter

The following is dedicated to all who are discovering they have cancer for the very first time . Hearing that dreadful " C " word can be the most frightening experience of one's life . I want you to know that cancer is not an end , but a beginning of a new journey . 

It would be understandable if I denounced my cancer with anger and hatred , but I can't . Too much good has emerged from the bad . How can I feel angry about this disease when I am surrounded by all the fruits that have blossomed from it ? 

I am loved like I've never been loved before by people that I thought didn't care for me any longer . My relationships with others are more meaningful , caring and lasting . I matter to them , because we are not afraid to show our love for one another . All past hurts and disagreements are tossed aside like they never existed . 

Going through cancer changed everything . Even though there were many bad moments and I know there will be more of them in the        future  , would I change any of it if I could ? I'm not sure , because the good outweighs the bad .  

Cancer has become more of a friend rather than my nemesis . I have learned to adapt to the lifestyle I have been given . Not all of the changes were pleasant , but I discovered a strength I never knew I    had . I rely on that strength to get me through whatever tomorrow holds . 

I have been awakened by what is important in life . I am so attuned to God's loving Grace , His beauty surrounds me in all I see . Today I live for the " now " and tomorrow is in God's hands . 

Ask yourself what is important to you at this moment and focus your energies on it . Your journey begins , one step at a time , even though it may seem like a very dark tunnel you are entering  . I can not wait to see the new you emerging from it . 

Have a Blessed day everyone . 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Simply Frustrated

Have you noticed how quickly things can go from bad to worse  ? It seems a domino effect takes place when we are faced with difficulties and suddenly it becomes a storm . 

It has been that kind of a week for me  . Okay , okay , a year , but let's talk about this week . I know you have heard all of this before , listening to all my gripes and whines , but who else would understand ? 

 I have been battling my internet connection . I have pulled my hair out this week trying to get it back , only to lose it again . I just don't understand why I'm having a problem in the first place . Totally frustrated , I ended up unplugging everything and putting it together again . Did it work ? No . Sat down on the floor , cried a bit and gave up , finally leaving the room . 

Walked back in minutes later  only to find it working . I thought I must be hallucinating . 

Traffic has plagued me all week  . No matter which road I take to work , I am surrounded by construction , construction and more construction . What used to be a 20 minute drive to work on third shift has turned into a 45 minute nightmare on second . Lord , help me . 

Finally make it in to work , more problems with my computer . When it is working , it seems to like buffering . . . . . a lot . Called IT , they   came , they saw and they conquered . Then we played the game all over again Tuesday , then Wednesday and so on . You get the   picture . 

A General Meeting was held this week at work . What's new ? Hmmm , let's see . A cut in pay , a higher cost in health insurance . It's just a lose , lose situation . What a grim way to face the future . 

At the end of the day , I come home . . . . did I say home ? Sure doesn't feel like I'm at home . My schedule has been nothing but        appointments . Home has become a place where I sleep , eat a quick bite , shower and run off to my next date . When will I enjoy this home of mine ?

The worst part ? I'm out of my wine ! Tomkat Winery has been low on it's inventory , so this girl has to wait . Otherwise , I'm so ready for this weekend and if I had my way , I wouldn't even leave the apartment . Unfortunately , that won't happen since  a huge " to do list " awaits    me . 

Until next time .. .....
Have a Blessed day everyone . 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday

A car has always been a tranquil place for me . Strange , isn't it ? When the children were little , I would escape inside my car for a breather . I would turn on the music or just sit quietly , alone with my thoughts . Even now , after I park the vehicle , I find myself " resting " for a while , especially after a difficult day at work . 

As I drive to work each day , I listen to music to prepare myself mentally for the work day ahead . Music in itself can bring out emotions long hidden to the surface . I could be clapping along      happily , or crying my heart out in Praise to God or in lament regret in regards to my past . It all depends on the song . 

Word Of God Speak

   I should have titled my blog  "Traffic ". I sure spent alot of time in it today . So restless in the car with my mind drifting  in reflection . Thinking of my life and all the things I should have done but didn't . The things I did and shouldn't have . The  mistakes I have made . We always remember the mistakes first . All the warning signs that were there but I ignored . That feeling we get that something doesn't feel right . Why don't we heed it ?
   I thought of this program I watched a very long time ago . Where a group of women would come live together , as therapist worked with them on their many issues . There was this one woman there . I won't forget her . Her therapist gave her all these bags.....she called it her " excess baggage " and wherever she went she had to carry all her baggage with her .
   I watched her lug all this baggage into the bathroom , as she was cooking , on the couch with her , on the bus etc . One day , the whole group went walking in the woods . This poor woman carried that baggage uphill tripping and falling several times . Finally , she was so disgusted of this baggage causing her so much misery she dropped it and refused to carry it around with her any longer . She was tired of it .
   That's how we all are . We don't listen to warning signs that God sends us . We refuse to listen . We stop  our own growth . We get tired of waiting on Him . We plunge in and make matters worse . Or we become scared and don't move on at all .
   Word of God speak . Why is it so very hard for us to trust Him ? To hear Him ?
   Instead , we do our own thing and develop excess baggage that causes us so many problems . We almost have to be covered with bags before we finally listen to Him . None of us wants to be sitting in traffic 20 years later playing back all our mistakes in our mind  thinking why didn't I listen ?

Have a Blessed day everyone . 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rainy Cold Days

:REST: This promise appeals to everyone, regardless of culture, race, and historical moment. Who hasn’t known the despair of bone-weariness, when life’s responsibilities are too many and our resources too few? Even monotony wears down our everyday will, contributing to the numbing depletion of our strength. Yes, we want this God-given relief from life’s anxious toil, worry, and fear. Rest is a ripe promise for all of us.

It's October . The rain hasn't ceased all night and as I sip my morning coffee , I know it will be a drizzle kind of day . I don't want to go out there . 

Rainy days remind me to slow down and rest . They are perfect for curling up on the couch with a good book , a movie or just a crocheting hook . Rainy days are lazy days where our bodies respond to the natural acts of naps and rest and comfort food  . 

Who wants to go out ? Not I !

If we could only hibernate during these cold , rainy days ! Just shut the door and live within our own little world . What would that look like ? How would you spend that time inside ? Would you be bored or more like me , treasuring each minute ?

The cold air has swept in to remind us of the upcoming winter . Brrrr ! I'm not looking forward to it . Who wants to scrape the ice off their cars every single time they need to use one ? The bone-chilling cold that invades your body , stealing all the warmth present every time we open the door . 

These past few weeks , I feel as if I'm scrambling around  trying to play catch-up with last minute details . Appointment after appointment fills my date book . Like a squirrel scurrying around  looking for nuts , I'm checking off the errands off my list . 

I'm becoming lazy , wanting to hibernate in my cozy little apartment , not worrying about work or any other responsibilities . I know so many people that are at home every day , because of their illnesses or disabilities . I bet they wish they could change places with me . 

It's the cold ....the rain ..... the cloudy skies ....they place a melancholy atmosphere wherever we go . Or at least they do on me . Thank goodness , I don't have to shovel snow anymore !

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Monday, October 20, 2014

Charity Monday

Charity begins at home . 

I never cared for that phrase . It always reminded me of selfishness and greed . As if the person making that remark  was  only thinking of themselves and their satisfaction . 

As a mother , I've placed myself last many times , opting to provide for my family first . The best fruits for them . Nothing unusual there . I believe the majority of people out there are doing the same . 

Charity begins at home . 

Taking another look at that phrase , I saw it in a completely different perspective . Instead of seeing the " me , me " factor , how about seeing the necessity that needs to be filled as a family . 

We do so much for other people at work , at our Church , for our friends . What about us ? Where does the charity begin with us ? 

I have neglected certain things in favor of others , prolonging the inevitable by procrastination and then because of shame . Shame at how far I've let things go . I have neglected  dental appointments , doctor appointments , past due bills , important paperwork , new glasses etc. , even unpleasant meetings . 

All these things that have only made the original problem much worse by my laziness and avoidance of facing the issues . If I can file it away somewhere deep in the corners of my mind , I won't have to deal with them . I'll save it for another time . . . . much later , but not now . 

How many times have we all said or done that ? For me , way too many . As I sit here in the waiting room , I have only myself to blame for my embarrassment . If I had taken cared of this problem years ago , I wouldn't have to be feeling chastised by my inaction . Just think how minor of a problem it would have been back then and how much cheaper . 

It's Monday . Another new week . No more procrastination , no more shame . Get out that list and do it . 

Have a Blessed day everyone . 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dear , Dear Friends

I haven't seen Linda for a few months now , nor Doug . Never far from my mind , these two have played a significant role in my journey with cancer . All three of us , went through treatment together , even though we each have a different illness . 

We have cried together , prayed together and supported each other through each of our trials  . They matter to me . 

Doug is still in treatment and working , trying to maintain a normal lifestyle . It must be very difficult having a young family of five to support and yet , I have never seen a family more full of love  for one another . 

Linda , on the other hand , has not stopped treatment for a few years now . I cannot even imagine what that must be like having chemo every three weeks for years . She looks very tired and my heart goes out to her . 

I feel extremely lucky that I get a break once in a while . A break to eat normal and live normal . Linda is not that lucky . As soon as one part of her cancer goes in remission , it appears elsewhere in her body . Yet , she moves on , loving me and praying for me all the way . 

I often wonder about the day when one of us will leave this world . A part of each of us will leave right along with the one entering Heaven . Right now , we're plodding along , some of us limping , aches and pains included  , ready to support one another at a moments
notice . 

What can beat friends like that ? Absolutely nothing .  

Have a Blessed day everyone . 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Blogger's Life

Every Christian should be reading one book -- the Bible -- and writing two. The first is a daily journal. Though not everyone finds this helpful, it's hard to object to keeping a small notebook (either literally or electronically) beside our Bibles so we can jot down the daily insights that come from our Bible study. 

The other book is an autobiography. Somewhere and somehow we should begin recording our testimony for those who will come after When we're dead and gone, our voices will no longer be heard on earth; but if we leave behind an account of our testimonies, we can minister to the next generation. Why not start your journal and a simple record of your life today?
David Jeremiah

Many times , Emily has asked me to write a series of " How To " manuals of useful information to pass on to her when she becomes a wife and mother . Each time I laugh that there is too much data to record in one lifetime . 

When I began this blog , who knew how much I would learn and heal from it . What began as a testimony to my children ended up becoming my life saver !

I have to be honest that I often thought about writing a guidebook to certain topics for my daughter . 

A Guide To The Running Of A Home

Easy , Healthy Recipes 

Mom's Advice To Life 

Tips For Pregnancy And Beyond

Then I think of all the work involved and I feel overwhelmed . Besides , would she really read it ? Saying so and doing so are two separate things . 

I can remember Joey living alone in Missouri and remarking how much he missed the family news . Mail was something he didn't receive regularly , so I proceeded to write letters to him on a weekly basis filled with all the latest info . He admitted to me later that he rarely read    them , opting to skim through them quickly instead . 

Then I remember another time , of him sitting beside my hospital bed when things weren't so great and asking me a question :

" Mom , are there any special words of wisdom or thoughts you want to pass on to me now ? " 

Friends , I have thought about that question for years  . I can see the need for them since I have cancer . We think differently , because we know time is limited and very special . I may not be around when Emily gets married or has her first child . The same applies to Joey and our many conversations , jokes and the lattes he makes for me when I     visit . 

So I keep writing my blog , my prayer journal  and keep taking notes in Church . When the time comes , I'm sure they will be a comfort to my family . 

Have a Blessed day everyone . 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Working Mother Of The Year

Crystal Michel, Avon Products, Inc.

What We Love
Nominated for: Volunteer Virtuoso
Utility Packager; East Chicago, IN; mom of Eiyana, 10, and Patrick, 8
After commuting 82 miles round trip between home and work, you might expect Crystal Michel to take it easy on her days off. Instead, this single working mom of two delivers boxes of donated baby blankets made by the local Crocheting Ministry Club to the labor and delivery wing of Lullaby Birthplace at St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights. The blankets help low-income moms with limited resources and few supplies prepared for their babies. For Crystal, it’s all about showing her children how to be compassionate and loving people.
The same pitch-in attitude carries over to Crystal’s work at Avon, where she has been an associate for seven years. Despite the demands of motherhood, her charitable efforts and her challenging commute, Crystal is a key contributor to the Mascara area and also operates Lotions and Roll-On lines when needed. On the job, she has a tremendous commitment to product quality, resulting in zero quality rejects in 2013 and 2014. Plus, Crystal also known for working safely and efficiently, while being a cheerful presence on the line.

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Yes , I will always remember the year 2011 with fond memories . We had five Weddings that year ! My son , My niece , my Godson , a friend of the family's daughter and my girlfriend's son . 

That was the year that I discovered a GPS  and traveled  extensively to Wisconsin , Michigan , Indiana  and Springfield like a mad woman . It was all about Wedding Showers , Engagements and Weddings . I loved every minute of it . Out of the five , four are still married and sadly one of them divorced this past summer . 

Weddings bring out the sentimental inside of us , especially the women . Each Wedding was beautiful in their way and I wish them the very best , Blessed union . The next generation lives on and we have to hold on tight as we watch them struggle and rise on their road together . We have to continue to pray for these marriages as the road ahead will get rocky . 


  Back in March , my son got married and started a chain of events that propelled our family on the road of re-discovery of each other . From that point on , the family had a full agenda of marriage proposals , wedding showers  and weddings . My time was spent traveling from Michigan to Indiana to Wisconsin and Springfield . We, as a  family ,  have never had such a whirlwind of events .
  My son started it and my niece ended it . Today is her Wedding Day . I know that it will be a while before another year like this one .
  I was up all night , tossing and turning , thinking of my life . It is always so much harder when the girl gets married . It takes a girl to understand a girl . I thought of all the couples that got married this year . The new life they have started as a a family . I thought of how my family enjoyed themselves at each Wedding . How much closer we have become . How I didn't want the closeness to end .
  I thought how happy they all looked on their Special Day  and I realized that I never looked like that . I thought of all the things that I have done wrong . All the things I wish I had done differently . I made plenty of mistakes . As the hours ticked away , my life flashed before me .One episode after another .I can't change what happened behind me , I can only change what happens in front of me .
  Who wouldn't want to start their life over again ? We all wish we could . We all have regrets . I know I do . I thought of all the things I wish I could say to these couples but somehow can't find the right words . What am I really nostalgic for ? My life ? Or her future ?
  I send her a text congratulating her on this special day. Her reply ? "Yes, God has been good to me ".

Have a Blessed day everyone . 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's Not Easy Being Green

First-century Jews disliked Samaritans, but their hostility was even stronger toward Gentiles. Jewish people would not enter the home of a Gentile (whom they considered “unclean dogs”), let alone share a meal with them. In the mind of most faithful Jews, God’s love was for Jews, not Gentiles.

It seems that hatred and racism has been around for a very 

long time . There's always someone not getting along with a neighbor , a co-worker , acquaintance or a family member . People have been judging others on whether they are acceptable to be around with or not for centuries . 

Imagine being a single young Christian  person in this secular world . A young person who believes in waiting until marriage to be intimate with their mate , who doesn't drink or smoke . A young person who wants to proceed into life as a Godly young man or woman . Imagine being laughed at for these beliefs .

I cannot imagine being young again , nor do I want to be . Our children have so much more junk they have to deal with nowadays . I feel for this world . I feel for the young people who have a desire to live a righteous life . I feel for the young men and women that are bullied for being good in a world that rallies for partying and sleeping around . 

Instead of supporting them , we roll our eyes at them , jeeringly like there is something wrong with them . Being good is not encouraged nor is it cool . 

It's not easy being green . Yet , they keep moving . . . . believing and trusting God to guide their path . To remember them and bestow His Blessings upon them . I'm very proud of these young people .

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

S For Simple

Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.Luke 12:15
When I was a tween , I would pour over all types of magazines and circle everything I wanted in red . My baby brother would tease me constantly and mercilessly about it . Soon I had a huge collection that over-spilled into every available space in my room . My dad would go in and throw out the stash every so often and I would get angry at him . 
When we are young , we love to collect things , the more the better. From that point on , we spend our time  filling our homes and lives with beautiful treasures . As we age , the opposite happens and acquiring possessions  no longer hold that same appeal as they did in the past . At least not to me .
I still want to hold on to my treasures , but the space to be smaller . I don't need the big house anymore , nor do I want to spend my time cleaning  and maintaining a large abode . I'm all about comfy , cozy little niches where I can curl up and spend my days in leisure .
It seems so funny to me that now at the age of almost fifty , I want to play . The natural born hippie ( without the drugs though ) lives inside of me , demanding to get out  . I could see myself living in a communal style atmosphere where everyone does their part  by using their talents . 
None of the things that were so important to me when I was younger , matter anymore . Politics will never change , there has always been  a Sodom and Gomorrah somewhere  and the Corporate world never seems to have enough money . Sometimes , I feel like I'm living in the wrong era .
Nowadays , I find my pleasure in the beauty of a good book , a new crochet stitch , a mysterious whodunit and an occasional sunrise/sunset . These are the only things I wish to acquire a vast collection in . 
Many times I have thought about leaving everything here in the city and moving closer to my son where we can be a real family . I , no longer have a zest for the city life . Living simply is all I desire , living closer to God  and my children . 
Have a Blessed day everyone  . 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Scales

Every Monday at work , I get on the scale to see how much I weigh . There is a certain excited expectation that maybe today will be the day I will see a significant amount of weight loss . 

Usually , it is quite the opposite with nothing more than a trickle number going downward , one pound at a time . 

It is so disappointing , especially when one feels like they have lost quite a lot . Clothes seem to be looser , our body profiles slimmer ( less bumps ) and yet the scale says otherwise . Boo-hoo . 

Even though it is Monday today , I will not be weighing in . You see , I have indulged myself with my daughter's baked goodies all weekend and I already know I will not care for the numbers I will see . 

Why should I depress myself ? Isn't this motivational Monday ? Why should I bring myself down ,  when instead I can lift myself up and try again . Wouldn't that be better motivation for others ? 

I certainly think so . In fact , the more I think about it , the more I am convinced that we weigh ourselves too doggone much . Time to put away those scales and forgive ourselves for those occasional gluttony binges . 

My attitude towards my weight has changed dramatically this past       year . Is it that important  what my outward appearance looks like ? Maybe , I don't want to be like everyone else , I want to be like me . The " me " involves bumps , curves and imperfections . I have meat , baby !

I'm sure there is someone out there among you that have also indulged a little too much this past weekend . Shake off that guilt ! Forgive yourself ! Strive to start this week off back on the wagon ! Remember , we are imperfect people trying our best .

Have a Blessed day everyone . 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Starved Rock

Growing up European , we ate and lived the lifestyle of the old            country . My children grew up on stuffed cabbage and pierogi dinners on a regular basis . For us , It's nothing new , we've been doing it for years and there is nothing wrong with it .  

While people flock to see different countries outside of America , Emily and I have been more interested in exploring the U.S. There is so much to see here , where does one begin ? 

I am happy to see a lot of families with the same idea . It seems that people have taken their families on more road trips now , than in the past . Nothing appeals to me more than jumping into an RV and just driving wherever the road leads us . 

Since my truck is quite old ( a '98 ) , we don't take too many road trips outside of Illinois in fear of breaking down completely . I need to preserve what few years I have with this old baby of mine .  So when I heard of Starved Rock , I was excited with the prospect of taking Emily there  right here in our very own state . 

I wanted the trip to be a surprise , an adventure for her birthday           month . I've planned and planned for months , weighing all the pros and cons in my head on whether this could even be possible . Every time I thought that we could go , something came up preventing this long awaited trip . 

Would this trip ever happen ? 

Have a Blessed day everyone . 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Desiring To Be Mary

I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.
John 14:6

I don't know when the thirst began . A thirst for God . A need to be near Him once again . Yes again . It felt as if I lost that connection we had together somewhere along the road of volunteering , serving others . I became Martha desiring to be Mary . 

I yearned for that excitement I felt long go as a new baby Christian .  A relationship  where no one else existed , but You and I . Do you remember the way I would run to Church on Sunday morning just to unload my burdens at Your feet ? I could not wait to be fed  .

It is so easy to become emerged in the hype of service . We volunteer to be part of something other than ourselves  . We want to help , because it is our duty to do so as Christians . We sign up for everything involving our Church so we could be accepted by this community of believers  . So we could be counted as vital in our contribution  as a Body of Christ . Everyone wants to belong . 

Too much of anything is not good . I became lost in the sea of serving , of giving too much and not taking anything back in . Our souls are made to be fed so we can keep growing as spiritual individuals . I became lost , desiring to be found . I became Martha .

How do I find my way back ? I want to walk in and sit down in a pew and just receive Your Word . I want to Worship and not be bothered by the expectations of others . Do not interrupt my time with Him . This is my Sunday with my Lord . 

Let me kneel before Him and become Mary . 

Have a Blessed day everyone . 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Year's End

If you feel the need for God in your life, that's exactly how you are supposed to feel. You were never intended to do life on your own. 

I'm really looking forward to the coming year . I feel as if I've been doing the ice bucket challenge every single day . Talk about shock treatment ! 

It certainly has been a very challenging year for me with so many changes happening . After sudden and unexpected pitfalls that sent me reeling off course , I had to make a few difficult and heart wrenching decisions . Decisions that cost me friendships , lack of sleep , frustrations and plenty of whining . 

Now that a majority of these reactions , due to the changes , have subsided , I feel good with the direction my life is taking .  I feel like I have come out of the struggle stronger and better . 

Reconnecting with God on a more personal level was a goal that I've been searching for through this change . Like many things in life , it takes time , because I don't believe in instant therapy . I'm slowly getting back to my old self , even though I've seen a new me emerge on certain unexpected days .

Wherever this journey ends for me , I am very glad that this difficult time is nearer an end and I can put it behind me on a dusty shelf where it belongs . 

The old hurts have almost dissolved into nothingness and the healing can begin , slowly but surely . I'm looking forward into the future for the next stage , I hope it's a good one this one . If it isn't , He will always be beside me to walk me through it  .

Have a Blessed day everyone . 

Cancer Pet Peeves

There are things that I really detest  about cancer . Things that make me shudder at the thought of another treatment . If I had to choose a top six list of pet peeves regarding my cancer , what would they be ? 

1. Hair loss
I don't care how many times I may have a re-occurrence , but when I lose my hair it is one of the most traumatic experiences  I go through . There is something so victim-like about the whole appearance of it . People automatically feel sorry for you , because they can tell you are sick with some type of cancer . 

I'm not saying it's a bad thing , but you  want to look as normal  as possible . You want to look pretty and feminine . There's nothing wrong with that feeling . It's very natural . We as women , are so concerned with appearance , even during our worst times . Cancer changes our appearance so much , is it wrong to want to look appealing ? 

2. Lack of taste in food 
I enjoy food , it's as simple as that . Not only do I experience metal mouth during treatment , where everything I eat tastes spoiled , but I think certain medications can alter your taste buds as well . Meals are not the same during treatment and I long for mouth watering explosions of flavor . 

3. Steroids 
My worst enemy happens to be steroids . As much as they help with the treatment for nausea , vomiting etc . , I really don't like the other side of steroids . 

You can always tell when I'm on steroids ( sounds so funny ) , I turn beet red all the way down to my neck . For at least three days , I dodge people's questions on why I look like a radish . It's embarrassing , people really don't understand nor are they nice about it .

Then there is the weight gain . . . . that's a whole chapter in itself . No medical staff ever wants to admit that whenever I mention it , but steroids increase your appetite and you will gain weight . That's it , I'm done with that . 

4. Germs 
People don't realize how easily we are infected with everyday germs . We cannot be around people who are unwell . Certain treatments lower your immune system by half  and we receive shots after the chemo to prevent that very thing from happening . 

Every morning , before doing anything else , I would get up and sterilize the apartment with my handy clorox wipes . Every single morning . It's okay in the beginning , but do that for six months and it definitely becomes a chore . 

5. Side effects from the side effects
After the treatments are finished , we go into remission . Chemo is a poison and not only does it kill the cancer , stopping any further      growth , but it affects our bodies in other ways  . I call this the side effects from the side effects . 

I can guarantee you that my left knee will swell up and the arthritis will be felt in every movement I make . First treatment , it was only the knee . Second treatment , it went from my knee down the length of my leg to the toes . Last treatment , it has expanded to my joints , fingers , hands . . . . you get the picture . 

My hot flashes are so pronounced as if I was going through menopause for the first time instead of it being almost eight years       now . I sleep with  a sheet for a blanket year round . I haven't worn a sweater nor can I look at one without experiencing a heat wave . 

My nails are brittle , especially on my toes  . It's embarrassing to show these man-like hands/feet in public . The minute they grow a certain length , they break as if porcelain . 

6. Careless comments 
This should be number one . Of all the things I've gone through , these hurt the most . Good people say careless , mean things . It's a way of life .

 I know I don't resemble the old me . I am not a size three any longer , but more like a 15/16 . I barely have any lashes or eyebrows . Do you think that making a comment on them will make me feel better ? Do you think I am not aware that I don't resemble my I.D. picture ?      Please , everyone be very careful of the words you use , because they really hurt . 

You can tell that it's time for my three month screening , because I am dreading the outcome . 

Have a Blessed day everyone .

Yarn Bombing My Life

                            Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey. Some murmur if their sky is clear, And wholly bright ...