Thursday, December 31, 2015

Indiana State Parks turn 100!

     This is so not what I was planning to write about today, but I saw something on Facebook this morning and I had to share the information.  The Indiana State Library has teamed up with the Indiana State Parks to offer state park entrance passes that can be checked out at local libraries!  Anyone with a library card (which is free), will have free access to the state parks in Indiana for 2016.  I think that this is an amazing opportunity for people to check out the fantastic state parks in Indiana.

     Anyone who knows me and my family, knows that we are huge fans of the state parks in Indiana.  We make it a point each year to visit several throughout out the state.  The fee to most of the state parks is $7 per carload (for instate cars), my family buys a $50 pass that is good for the entire year to all the state parks in Indiana.  We get our moneys worth every year because we visit so many of the parks.

     We live just down the road from Spring Mill State Park.  We go there to hike on a regular basis.  We love the easy hike around the lake, but there are some that are more challenging.  Delainey did her photography project for 4H at Pioneer Village.  We make use of the pool several times during the summer.  And while our house was getting sprayed due to a flea infestation, we stayed at Spring Mill Inn.  I have friends who spend their anniversary each year at Spring Mill.

     For my fiftieth birthday celebration, we went to a new to us park, Lincoln State Park.  We had a picnic lunch, hiked, and enjoyed nature.  Delainey and I went swimming in the lake, while Jim found a quiet place to fish (yes he fished in the same lake where we were swimming, fish live in lakes...).  It was a perfect way to celebrate my birthday.  I have camped at Clifty Falls State Park several times, with my family and friends. The trails at Clifty are awesome, some follow Clifty Creek and lead to a water fall, a beautiful sight to behold!  My boys, who were not big on hiking, even enjoyed the hike that took us through the creek, great on a hot day!

     Turkey Run State Park has been part of my life since high school.  My girls group at church went camping there each year.  The day after prom one year was spent there.  One year our family vacation was going to be spent at Turkey Run.  The heat sent us home after a day though...100 degree heat in a tent with no fans or air was to much for us!  My girlfriends and I camped there one weekend.  We can laugh about it now, but we went tubing down Sugar Creek during a drought.  If you want to do that, make sure that the water levels are high enough so that you don't have to walk most of the would have been fun tubing, but walking, not so much!

     My favorite hidden gem of a state park is Fort Harrison.  Fort Harrison is a state park in Indianapolis.  You don't expect such a secluded place in the city, but it's there.  I wrote about Fort Harrison earlier this year, so I won't repeat myself, but it truly is worth the visit.  So many precious memories of my family have taken place at Fort Harrison.

     I could talk all day about the state parks in Indiana.  I went on a field trip in third grade to the Indiana Dunes State Park (my mom was the rebel chaperon that let us stick our feet into the water).  During a rough spot in our marriage, Jim and I took a trip to Brown County State Park that helped us reconnect and take time out from the difficulties that we were facing.  I went on a youth group retreat to Pokagon State Park.  I have been hiking at McCormick's Creek, Falls of the Ohio, Shades, and Versailles.  Each park has its own identity, something that makes it special.

     If you haven't been to a state park in Indiana, take some time in 2016 to visit one.  Go to the library and check out an entrance pass.  Spend the day getting back to nature.  Enjoy the hiking, the fresh air, the sounds of the woods, the time with your family.  This is a great opportunity that we have this year.  Celebrate 100 years of Indiana State Parks with some of the special activities that are being planned this year!  I know that I will be there with my family!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Letting Go

     2015 is coming to an end.  As the year closes, we are all taking time at our house to let go of some of our things that we no longer want or need.  We don't go crazy with Christmas gifts, but we do need to make room for the new items that we received.  Jim let go of some of his jeans and tee shirts.  Delainey actually donated some of her stuffed animals.  I need to check out my closet to see what I no longer wear.

     I struggle to let go of things that have sentimental value to me.  I don't want to let go of things that have been given to me.  I have things that don't blend with my style that I am keeping.  I talked before about purging my things, but I have been at a stand still lately.  I need to go back to what my friend Deb talked about on her blog, keeping things that bring me joy.  I don't need to keep the things to remind me of people, I have the memories...and I can always take pictures.

     I have a good friend who is doing the hard work of pruning the negative from her life.  That hard work is not just getting rid of things, but people as well.  I admire her so much, it takes courage to do what she is doing.  I don't do drama in my life, but it seems that drama has been creeping in through various people.  I need to evaluate those relationships and see if they can become more positive.  If not, then I need to decide what I will allow in my life.

     I am on vacation for the next week.  I need to do spend some time doing the hard work of letting go.  I need to evaluate what brings me joy and what is just sitting around taking up space.  I need to look at the drama and see if it can be turned around.  I need to enjoy my vacation and at the same time, take a look at what I want to take with me into 216.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


     I know that we need to keep our kids (and ourselves) safe, but have we taken "stranger danger" to an extreme?  Are we so afraid to step out of our box and speak to strangers that we are missing out?  How do we strike a balance between speaking to strangers and keeping safe?  I don't know the answers, but I was glad that I welcomed two strangers into my world this week.

     The first stranger was a customer in the store where I work.  I don't often interact with the customers due to the nature of my job, but during the holidays I spend less time time doing "my" job and more time on the sales floor.  I was on a ladder when I sneezed.  I don't have a tiny little sneeze...I have been known to wake my family when I sneeze.  A customer gave me a "bless you" and I apologized in case I startled her.  We had a silly conversation about sneezes that made me smile.  You know that you have met one of your people she tells that if she is going to pee when she sneezes, the sneeze should be a big one!

     The second stranger that I met was during a tornado warning.  We don't have a safe place in our house during storms, but we live close to our church, which has a basement.  D and I grabbed the dog, Pink Bear, and Mrs. Hannon and headed to our church to wait out the storm.  There was another car in the parking lot.  I invited the lady in her car in to share our shelter.  As we waited out the storm, we chatted.  She shared with me the story of her miraculous healing from cancer.  After being told there wasn't much hope or many treatment options left for her, her husband had a dream that she was cured.  She had a PET scan done.  The scan showed that her tumor, which at the end of her radiation and chemo was still the size of a small ball, was completely gone.  She has been completely cancer free for almost 16 years.  Her doctors couldn't explain it, but she could...she received a miracle.

     Two strangers.  Two completely different conversations, but both left me with a smile.  All because I stepped out of my box and opened myself to a conversation with a stranger.  Maybe it's time to open myself up more to strangers and let them into my world.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

She gets it!

     As a parent, I always wonder if Delainey understands the things that we are trying to teach her.  Some days, I don't think that she understands at all.  This year, we were lucky enough to have extra, so we were able to help out a friend in need and take a name from our county's angel tree.  The plan was to spend black Friday shopping for these special gifts.  More than once, I had to remind her that our budget was not for us, but for others.  It was hard and frustrating.  I questioned whether or not she understands that others won't be celebrating Christmas in their own home, without plenty of food, and little to no gifts.

     Earlier this month, Jim and I were able to take a group of youth to Indianapolis to work with a church that serves a hot meal on Sundays to the homeless and needy.  D was the youngest member on the team working.  She jumped right in and asked to work in the kitchen.  She helped wash dishes, worked on the line serving the food, and then jumped onto the cleanup detail.  She hasn't said much about the experience, other than she wants to go again, but I could tell that she was taking it all in.

     As part of Advent, we are doing a Jesse tree devotion using her Jesus Storybook Bible (can you tell that I love this book?).  We read a story each night and then one of us prays.  One night after reading the story of David and Goliath, D prayed.  She thanked God that he uses the small and the weak to do His work. Be still my heart!  She is listening to the stories and lessons that she hears.  She is taking it in and making it meaningful to her.

     Our church hosts a Blue Christmas service for the community.  It is a service that acknowledges that not everyone is excited about Christmas, that personal issues are preventing people from enjoying the season.  D and I went, not because we are sad this season, but because we support our church programs.  D helped throughout the service, lighting the Advent candles, passing out tea lights to people as they shared their sorrows, passing out blue ornaments to decorate the tree.  She was very serious as she listened to people share their sorrows.  During the service she was crying.  She couldn't explain why.  She regretted not lighting a candle for her sister that I miscarried.  She did tell me that she was glad that we went.  She saw the joy in people as we finished decorating the blue Christmas tree.  It was a meaningful service for both of us.

     I sometimes forget that she is 9.  There are going to be days that the whole world revolves around her.  And it will frustrate me...but heck, there are days that I think the world should revolve around me.  But I am seeing that there are more days in the life of my little girl, that she sees the bigger picture.  She sees sorrow and loss and pain of others.  She wants to be part of the solution.  She really does get it!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

'Tis the Season

     I love Christmas, I think everyone knows that about me.  In our house, we start decorating for Christmas in November.  All three of us enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas.  In the past, I have over planned for us and often left us all tired.  I end up disappointed that we didn't do something that was on our list.  This year, I have changed my focus.  I have lowered my expectations and focused more on the peace of the season.  I am doing things daily this year to prepare the reason that we celebrate Christmas in our house.  I am celebrating the season of Advent.

     Last year, I tried to do an elaborate Jesse tree, with paper ornaments that needed colored, long scripture readings for each day, and I failed.  I had the tree ready, but not the ornaments.  I think that we did one or two days together as a family and then, nothing.  This year, we are using my favorite storybook Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible, as our Advent reading.  The stories are simple, sweet, and all of them lead to Jesus.  After we read the story, one of us will say a prayer and then we put a simple circle ornament on our Jesse tree.  This time that we spend together as a family has been such an amazing time for all of us.  To hear Delainey read one of the stories or listen to Jim pray just makes my heart happy.

     Each morning before I hit the shower, I have been reading a daily reflection that one of my Facebook friends shared. I am enjoying the readings and reflections each day.  The readings and reflections give me pause throughout the day.  I like starting my mornings with this.  It doesn't take long for me to read and I have time throughout the day to process what I have read.  I end my day with an Advent reading that I received from my church.  My day is beginning and ending with words that are building me up, giving me strength and knowledge.

     As I am experiencing this season that we refer to as Christmas, I am taking time to enjoy the season of Advent.  I am taking time to reflect and worship.  I am taking time to prepare my heart to celebrate the birth of my Saviour.  I am taking time to enjoy my family and count my blessings.  I hope that everyone is able to take some time in the stillness and just be in the moment.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Food for thought

       In October, Jim went on an Emmaus Walk.  If you have never been, I encourage you to find out more about the weekend, there just aren't words to describe the weekend.  I went on my Walk in 2013 and tried to describe my time, but didn't have the words (although I tried in a blog post).  I still don't!  It can be a truly life changing weekend.  Jim's walk has changed not just him, but our entire family.  I have been challenged in so many ways since he has been home.  Jim came home and has really put Christ in the center of his life...and in doing so, has made me focus so much more as well.  By following Jim's example, I am learning to keep Christ as my center as well.

     One of the things I am being led to do, is watch what I am filling myself with.  I love to read...almost any type of book.  I just finished a book for my book club and as I was reading, I was being nudged.  The book was very suspenseful and very dark.  My heart would race as I was reading because of the subject matter. It was a good book, but was it good for me?  Do I need a book that talks about the darker side of life?  It the book nourishing me in a positive way?  How would I feel if D started to read this book?  I have decided that I need to monitor the type of books that I read.  I don't think that everything has to be happy, fluffy, and fun, but I want the books to have a more positive message for me.

     Jim and I have also been discussing the movies that we have in our house and the tv shows that we watch.  Not everything has to be family friendly, but we want things that we don't have to worry about what Delainey will see if she watches them.  I don't have a problem with movies that are fantasy, like the Harry Potter movies, or even the Hunger Game movies.  The Hunger Game movies are not age appropriate for D yet, but there will be a time when she will be okay to watch them.  Other movies that we  have, I don't see us sitting down as a family to watch them ever, so why am I still keeping them?  Don't think that we have a stash of X-rated movies laying around the house, we don't.  But do we need to keep movies that have more adult themed material?  Probably not.

     I am not going to judge anyone for what they are reading, watching, or listening to.  Everyone has to make their own decisions about what is acceptable.  I am just finding that my level of acceptance for me is changing.  I want things to fill my mind with positive thoughts and images.  I don't want to read a book that scares me with what could be.  I don't want to watch a movie that is full of images that I don't need to see.  I want to take steps to keep my books and movies appropriate for me and my family.  I think that this will be a painful process for me.  I don't like to let books and movies go, but for me, it feels like that is what I am being led to do.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Books...My Top Ten

     I was reading a list of someones top ten books and started to think about my own top ten.  I love to read.  A good day for me is getting to curl up and read until I am sleepy....and when I wake up, I read some more.  I don't get many days like reading happens on my lunch break or when we are on road trips.  My favorite books are books that I can read over and over again.  And many of them seem to be classified as young adult ficiton.  The characters in the books come alive to me, and they always have.  I can forget about everything when I am wrapped up in a book (maybe that's part of why I love series so much).  Without further ado (because I know that you can't wait), here is my top ten favorite books (in no particular order of course)

1. The Chronicles of Narnia series by CS Lewis.  I remember checking them out of my church library in junior high...and being impatient when I was ready for the next book and someone else wasn't done!  The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was one of the first books that I read to my class when I was teaching sixth grade a long time ago.

2.  The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  I was one of those people standing in line waiting to get my copy as soon as it was released.  And I didn't sleep much until I was done with the book!  My stepson Shane was the first to tell me about these books and I was so excited to discuss them with him when we were both finished!

3.  The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper.  I don't know many people who have read these books, but I remember reading them with my students and we were all so excited to discuss the books.  Dont' watch the movie (The Seeker) based on one of the's awful, but the book...wonderful!

4.  The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Love...and I love that my daughter loves reading them now too!  That's all I have to say about them!!

5.  Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.  Again, another read-a-loud to my students.  Not a dry eye in the room as I read about Little Ann and Old Dan, including mine.

6.  The Hunger Game series by Suzanne Collins.  This series is one of the newest on the list, but I have read them all over and over again already!

7.  The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.  This book tells the Bible stories in a different way, every story points to Jesus.  Most books say "the end" when it's done...but this one says "to be continued", what a great way to end a Bible!  It's for younger children, but Delainey and I read it together often.  This Christmas we are going to use it as part of our family Advent time.

8.  Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  This is a daily devotional that really spoke to me.  There were days that I just sighed after reading the devotional and thought, yes...this is how I feel!

9.  The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.  A disturbing story that shows a future that isn't pleasant.  Sadly, I see things happening today that happen in the book.  I really think that everyone (especially women) should read this book!

10.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I love reading about Jo March and her sisters.  I wished that I had sisters to fight with. love, play with, and just to have.  I still miss the bond of sisterhood, and I know that not all sisters act the way the March sisters do, but oh how this book made me feel like I had sisters!

    If you are stuck for a book to read, try one of my favorites!  Let me know what you think about my list!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Doctors and Dentists and Chiropractors, Oh My!

     The last few months have been filled with medical appointments of one kind or another at our house.  Every time we think we have one issue under control, another one surfaces.  I know that we are lucky to be able to see the medical professionals, but I am pretty tired of seeing them all....and there are several more appointments in the future.

     Delainey had a six week period where she was a walking, talking snot machine.  The poor girl went through boxes of tissue, coughed herself to sleep at night, and woke up sick to her stomach.  She missed the first day of school, was on antibiotics twice, and was not getting any better.  We think that we have finally found a medical comfort zone for her right now.  She is still taking her allergy medicine that our doctor has given her, we are using essential oils to supplement her allergy and sleep issues, and she is getting adjustments from the chiropractor on a regular basis.

     I don't generally have allergy issues, but I have been this year.  The allergies haven't hit me in the same way as Delainey though.  My eyes started to swell up and itch.  I had to use eye drops that were crazy expensive and still didn't seem to help.  Jim bought me an ice pack eye mask which helped, but how often can I wear that and work or drive?  When I saw the doctor about my eyes, his nurse realized that I turned 50 this she has set me up with a doctor to have a colonoscopy.  I haven't made that appointment yet, I am trying to ignore it!  I also saw the chiropractor to help with some numbness that I have been having in my arm.  And then the dentist...last week 2 fillings, a root canal, and a temporary crown.  In 3 weeks, 4 more fillings and the permanent crown.  Yay me!

     Jim chipped a tooth and had to get crowns on his two front teeth.  Poor man hates the dentist, but was really happy with the treatment that our dentist gave him.  He started seeing our chiropractor as well.  Jim has had numbness in both of his arms for years.  I honestly don't know how he has dealt with it.  He seems to be getting some relief with the treatments.  Last weekend, he was having some heart pains.  He didn't want to go to the er after we were about half way there, so I took him home with the promise that he would see the doctor on Monday.  Tomorrow he is having a cardiac catheterization done.  We are hoping and praying that there are no problems, but are trusting that God will be taking care of Jim.

     When I look at all the issues that we have had, I sometimes get overwhelmed.  But, I am lucky that Jim and I have insurance to help with the bills.  I have confidence in the medical personnel we see. I know that we can get all this "stuff" under control and find our way back to healthy again.  It's not going to be easy, but Jim and I are to old to take our health for granted.  We have to work at it each day.  We need to set the example for Delainey so that she learns good habits that will keep her healthy as she grow.  It is a journey for us and we are committed to being healthy again!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


     Normally, I am a glass half full kind of person.  I can find the silver lining in my situation almost all the time.  Lately, I have lost my focus...or more accurately, my focus has been on the wrong things.  I don't like seeing the negatives of life, it's draining me.  I need to find my positivity again.  

     I am in a small group study focusing on prayer.  I am a big believer in prayer...I have seen the positive results of prayer.  Last week our focus was on prayers of thanksgiving.  I needed to spend some time being thankful, but I didn't.  I continued to wallow in self-pity...and I am over it.  The last few weeks have been depressing and I am ready to focus on the positive.  

     One of the things that brought me down was minor illness in my family.  First Delainey was sick, then me, then Delainey again.   Yes, it sucked that we were sick.  It was no fun seeing Delainey feverish and missing the first day of school.  BUT...Jim and I were able to adjust our schedules and be home to take care of Delainey.  We have access to health care in our area.  We have insurance that means we are able to afford health care and medicine.  And most of all, we are now healthy.

     My job has been stressing me out.  It's a long drive each way.  I have been overwhelmed.  BUT...I have a job.  I have been there for a long time.  I have a boss who allows me some flexibility with my time.  I have pretty good benefits.  Most of the time, I like my job.

     I have so much to be thankful much positive in my life.  I am letting go of the negative.  I am going to focus on the positive things in my life, the things that make me happy.  I am going to spend some time tonight looking at the stars and hoping to see some shooting stars.  Tomorrow, I am going to spend the morning with Delainey and take her to school.  I am going to have coffee and donuts with a friend.  I am going to get new tires on my car.  I am going to spend some time reading my Bible and giving thanks.  

     I am going to focus on the positive things in my life again.  I am going to become myself again!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Living Tiny

     Like so many others, I am obsessed with the tiny house movement.  The thought of not having to clean a big house appeals to me.  Living simply with fewer things sounds peaceful.  Keeping only what we need and use on a regular basis means no more junk filling the drawers and closets.  I dream of having a place for everything and keeping everything in its place.  I would love to have the courage to purge all the extra things we own, to keep only what we really love and need.

     I have lived in small spaces before.  The first house that I bought on my own was not considered a tiny house, but it was so much smaller than most homes.  There was just over 700 square feet of living space.  The house had one small closet, only one kitchen cabinet, and only one interior door (on the bathroom).  I learned all the secrets that are seen on tv for tiny house storage.  My living room couch doubled as storage space and a guest bed.  I used vertical storage so I was still able to display things that I stuffed bears, my photos, my baskets, and other objects that I thought I had to have.  Every space of my house was filled with stuff.

     When Jim and I got married, we bought a big, old house.  It had character and charm.  We began to fill it with stuff...all sorts of stuff.  Jim has a thing about tables, so we had several tables.  I have a thing about photos, so we had photos.  We both love books, Jim has his hats, I have bears and baskets.  We both love our kitchen gadgets.  I love holidays, so we have totes filled with holiday stuff (seriously, we have 5 Christmas trees and at least 4 nativity sets).  We filled that house with stuff.  When we moved, much of it went into storage.  That stuff is now out of storage (except for the holiday things) and in our house.  

     Finally, I am ready to start letting go of some of the things.  We aren't moving to a tiny house soon, but Jim's retirement plans involve the two of us in an RV, traveling the country. There won't be a lot of room for stuff in an RV.  My friend Deb has inspired me to start purging, keeping only the things that bring me joy.  I already keep a donation box in the house for clothing.  I need to branch out to other things besides clothing.  Do I really need to keep my stuffed bears?  Do they make me happy when I see them, or are they just part of the stuff that I don't need to have?  When school starts next week, my journey to live tiny begins.

     Living tiny won't mean that I am giving things up, it means that I will be keeping only the things that I love and truly need!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I got Grumpy.

     I took a Facebook quiz the other day.  I happen to think that those quizzes are fun and often they seem to capture me pretty well.  My friend posted one to see which of the Seven Dwarfs you are.  I took it, thinking I would get Happy or maybe even Doc.  Bashful was never on my radar, but I could see me as Sleepy or Sneezy.  Grumpy never occurred to me...but my result was Grumpy.  Oh my, have I turned into Grumpy?  Am I finally that grouchy old person who scares little children and says "Back when I was young..."?  Hmmm....

     Grumpy people go to bed early....Sunday night (okay, afternoon) I was in bed at 4:30.  In my defense, it was just a late nap.  I woke up at 8 and stayed up until 10.  Last night I stayed up later than that...okay, the sun was still shining, Delainey was still up, and it was before 9pm.  The reality of my life is that I get up early in the morning, so you know, "Early to bed, early to rise..."  Oh lawdy, a grumpy person would say something like that.

     Thursday, a friend and I are taking our kids to an amusement park.  Instead of being excited, last night I had nightmares of the coasters breaking down, losing my shoes, and getting motion sick.  I love roller coasters.  They make me laugh.  I haven't been on a roller coaster in several years.  I am getting dizzy just thinking about the rides.  Does that make me grumpy?  Do I get points for attempting to ride the coasters with my daughter?
     I rarely drink a whole bottle of beer, it gets warm because it takes me to long to drink it.  I don't dye my hair because it's to much work.  Loud music hurts my ears and I am happy listening to talk radio. I have more comfy clothes than cute clothes.  I like naps.

     The evidence is leaning pretty heavily that the quiz is correct...I am Grumpy.  Or maybe I am just middle aged and honest with myself.  Or maybe it was a stupid Facebook quiz that doesn't really mean anything!


Sunday, July 19, 2015


     Jim and I decided early in our marriage that family vacations were a priority for us.  I don't remember many family vacations from my youth, but some of Jim's best memories are of trips he took with his family.  This year, our budget has been stretched thin for various reasons and we really thought this would be our staycation year.  Staying at home for vacation would have been just fine, but we were able to take a budget friendly trip thanks to some family and friends!  

     One of my wonderful friends has a home in Michigan, just a few blocks from Lake Michigan.  We have stayed with her family before, so once again, I asked if we could use her home as a base for several days.  They welcomed us with open arms into their home.  They stocked food and beverages for us, left us their beach pass, and told us to enjoy because they were going to be gone for a few days when we were visiting.  I have a cousin who has a sailboat in the same area, so I invited my family out for a sail with my cousin and her family (they have given us a standing invitation, so I used it, I didn't just call out of the blue, I'm not that bold).

     We spent a day on the lake sailing with my cousins.  It was a perfect day and just as fun as the sailing was the visiting with family that I don't see very often.  We went out looking for beach glass one morning and got rained on, so we went shopping to a nearby outlet mall after we spent some time playing board games.  We spent a couple of days at the nearby beaches.  The water was cold, but the sun was shining and Delainey loved every minute that she spent in the 63 degree water!  We bought her a $20 boogie board and that was the best investment of the trip.  Delainey was able to glaze a bowl that she had made on our last trip to Michigan and throw two more.  She loves making pottery, so we are looking into lessons for her.  She is ahead with her 4H projects for next year already!  We also went to the Warren Dunes State Park.  The riptides were to bad for us to swim, but we were able to climb the sand dunes (and get sand in our camera) and then run down them.  We also found some cool beach glass in the sand.  Climbing in sand is hard work, but the view was worth it!  

     Our last family event of vacation was a biggie...a trip to The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.  We blew our budget on the day, but it was such an amazing time that I would do it over again!  I went to the museum in sixth grade on a school field trip and I remember several things about that trip, but didn't remember many more things.  I could go on for hours about our day, but I will just say...GO.  Save your money, find the time, and go.  There was something for all three of us at every turn.  If we lived near Chicago, we would have a family membership and go as often as possible.  

     We spent time together.  We stayed up to late.  We slept in each day.  We laughed and fussed with each other.  We all spent time reading and napping.  The best part...being together and making memories that will last us forever!

At the top of the sand dune!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Family Day

     Today was supposed to be a family adventure day.  The plan was to go to a local amusement park where we have season passes.  We still haven't used our passes since Jim and I don't often have a week day off together.  But, southern Indiana has been in the midst of a rainy season and today is supposed to be more of the same.  Hot, humid, rainy, and lines for rides equal cranky family, so we decided to switch gears.

     We started family day last night.  Delainey's bed was drug out to the living room.  Jim took over the couch, I got comfy on the love seat.  And we started our movie marathon....our plan is to watch Harry Potter movies until we are done with them all!  I doubt we will watch all eight, but who knows!  I love the Harry Potter series...both books and movies.  I have seen and read them all multiple times.  Delainey is always leery of the movies, she is like her momma and doesn't like scary, but she suggested the movie marathon.  I am excited!

     We do need to take a movie break today to do some grocery shopping for our celebration we are having on Saturday.  And there is some house cleaning to do as well...I would hate for people to see our spare room right now (yes, it is basically a place to throw all the stuff that doesn't have a home).  Delainey has also asked for a few games to be thrown in during our movie marathon, so we will multi-task at some point.  Delainey loves playing games, but we never seem to play very often, I am not sure why that is either.

     I for one am glad for the change in plans...Jim and I have both had a busy week.  He has to work all weekend, I have to work Saturday.  We are having friends over Saturday night.  Today will be a day for recharging our batteries...relaxing, enjoying the little things in life, eating popcorn with butter, spending time together.  Sounds like a great day to me, of course, any day that I get to spend with my family is a great day!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Forever Home

     I love to watch all the house hunting shows on tv.  I am always interested to see what people are looking for in a home.  Almost every house hunter is looking for a "forever home", that home they will live in for the rest of their lives.  I have friends who have forever homes...places that they moved into when they first got married, places where they have raised their children, places where they are spending their retirement.  I have a hard time imagining myself in such a home, even though I have owned homes in the past that I thought would be my "forever home".

     I have moved a lot in my life time...of the top of my head, I can count twenty moves in my fifty years.  That is a lot of moving over the course of my life.  I don't think that I have spent more than ten years in one home, and that includes the home that my family lived in while I was in college, so I was gone more than I was home.  Even in college I moved several times during my time on campus...I lived in 6 different dorm rooms in four years.  I hate the process of packing and moving, but I have gotten pretty good at it!

     The first home that I owned, I bought with my ex-husband.  It was going to be our forever home, but the marriage wasn't a forever marriage.  He still owns the home, so I guess it is his forever home.  I then bought a house on my own.  It was a small house, not quite tiny house size, but by most standards it was tiny. only 760 square feet.  When Jim and I became engaged, I put the house on the market.  It wasn't close to where the boys lived and it was just a little to small for us to entertain two active boys.  Jim and I decided that we wanted a forever home.  We fell in love with an old house and we bought it.  Unfortunately, old houses sometimes come with big problems.  We didn't have the time, energy, or money to fix all the things that needed to be fixed in that beautiful old we decided to sell our forever home.

     When we moved to our current town, we talked about buying, but I wasn't convinced that we were going to stay here, so instead we rented.  Luckily, we found a nice home to rent right away.  Our home was on 8 acres of land, with our landlords living on the land as well.  We lived in the "front house" and our landlords lived in the "back house"  for two years.   Our landlords decided to try tiny living, so they moved into a fifth wheel travel trailer.  We moved into the "back house", where we still are.  We are renters, but our landlords give us plenty of freedom to do things with the land and house.

     Jim and I have talked about buying a home, even spending time with a realtor and looking at homes.  We have seen some houses that we have really liked, but none have been the right home.  I am not sure that there is a forever home out there for us, but I don't want Delainey moving around like I did.  I want her to have roots, a place that she can call home.  Until we find our forever home, we are making our home right where we are.  As long as we are together, we will be home, forever.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

4H Projects

     I love going to the fair (county fair and state fair both) to see the 4H projects.  I was never in 4H, but it is something I always wanted to do.  Delainey is very lucky to be in an active 4H group.  Her club is a large group of kids from elementary school to high school.  They have monthly meetings that she loves going to each month.  I enjoy watching her interact with the other members during activity times.

     Last year, D did "mini-4H", which is just the way it sounds, mini.  Projects are smaller, there is no paperwork involved, and everyone gets a ribbon.  This is her first year in the big leagues.  She wanted to do four projects...until she realized how much paperwork was involved in the process.  At that point she was already signed up and we decided that she needed to honor that commitment.  So we began to work...and by we, I mean Delainey did the work while we nagged her to do it.  She did a scrapbook project, two photography projects, and a collection of sea shells.

     D started her scrapbook project first.  She got online to find the best ways to make scrapbook pages, looked at different layouts, went shopping for supplies, and actually listened to me (I scrap, but in a very simple way).  It was a very time consuming process for her with a lot of researching before she started working.  Once she started working on her pages, it was even more time consuming because she wanted everything just right.  She started with one plan and ended up in a different direction with her pages, but the end result was really nice!  I see this scrapbook being entered into the fair in future years!

     Her next two projects were a love that she shares with her dad, photography.  She spent several days taking pictures to get just the right shots for her projects.  I have grey hair to show just how hard she worked on those pictures.  We don't have a great editing system and our printer is iffy, so she edited the photos on Shutterfly.  And she hated the process...but she stuck with it, deciding which pictures were fair worthy and which were just okay.  She didn't pick the pictures that Jim and I would have, but we were not the ones doing the projects.  The next step was deciding on her layouts for the posters.  Another long process.  There are only so many ways to put 10 photos on a board along with lettering, but she did finally come up with a solution.  Again, I am proud of how hard she worked to do these two projects.  I think this is an area that Delainey will continue to explore.  I would love to get she and Jim a class that they could take together to learn more about digital photography (note to self...this would be a great Christmas gift for them).

     Her shell collection was by far her least favorite.  She had to research the names of the shells, label each one and then on her sheet, she had to tell where and when the shells were found.  She also had to assign a monetary value to the collection.  I love what she wrote about that....she listed each shell as $0 value, but the total price of the collection was priceless to her.  While she enjoys collecting many things, she didn't enjoy the paperwork aspect of this project at all.  I love the shells and since we love to vacation by the beach (any beach), I know the collection will grow.  I am just not sure if she will continue to show it at the fair.

     I have enjoyed watching the progress of Delainey through these projects.  It was a struggle at times, but Jim and I let D struggle through the projects.  They are her work, done by her, with a little (sometimes more than a little) nagging done by us.  We (Jim and I) are not in 4H, Delainey is. She did the work, she earned the results and the results were pretty impressive to red ribbon, two blue ribbons, and a champion!  We are the proud parents...she is the proud 4H member.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day

      Growing up, I never felt connected to Father's Day.  I grew up without a biological father.  He made a choice to live his life in a way that didn't include me.  The last time that I saw him I was six.  He died when I was in my mid-twenties.  He lost out on knowing me, but it has taken a long time for me to truly know that the loss was his, not mine.  I don't tell the story of my father often, because I am not looking for sympathy, it is just part of my story.  I spent time in my younger days wondering why I wasn't enough, but I know that it was a lacking in him that caused him not to be present in my life, not in me.  I am pretty sure that marrying my ex-husband was in part due to an absent father.  My ex was tall and a little goofy looking, like photos I have seen of my father...and even more, he was emotionally distant, just like my father.  

     One of the first things that attracted me to Jim while we were still getting to know each other, was the importance of his children.  He carried pictures of the boys with him and showed them off frequently.  He told stories about Shane and Dylan all the time.  I knew all sorts of things about them before I ever met them.  Jim has always worked retail, which means long hours, including weekends and evenings.  When the boys were involved in sports and music, it meant that when he wasn't working, we were at those events.  There were times that I wanted my new husband to myself (I know, selfishness), but with his limited free time, we were at the events of the boys.  Honestly, I wouldn't change those days.  I miss the times of sitting at the ballparks all day, every Saturday, rain or shine, hot or cold.  Those are the things that dads do.  

     I know that there are people today who are not looking forward to the day.  There are the people like me who grew up with a father.  How do you spend the day when everyone else is talking about their awesome fathers and you never experienced that?  There are others who had a wonderful father, but are spending the day without him because he is now deceased.  How do you comfort someone who is mourning while others are celebrating?  There are the men that would love to celebrate the day, but have not had the opportunity to be fathers. 

     Today, I will spend time praying for people like me who grew up with an absent father.  I pray that they have a man who was able to fill that role in their lives. I will pray for those who are struggling today.  I know several people who spend this day in sadness, missing the father that they have lost.  For some, it is the first Father's Day without their father, for others it has been years, but the pain is still fresh.  I don't know their pain, but I know that it is a real and true thing for them.  I also pray for the men that would love to be a father, but for whatever reason, have not been given that chance.  

     Today, I will spend time thanking God for the men like Jim...who are good father's to their children.  I will celebrate the men that are step-fathers to children that are theirs through marriage.  Step-fathers are special people who not only marry the woman that they love, but promise to love her children as well.  I will say a pray of thanksgiving for the men who act as fathers to the fatherless.  Those men see a need in a child and willingly add that child to their life.  I was lucky enough to have several men like that in my life.  Those men will be on my prayer list today!

     So on this day that is all about fathers...celebrate what you have.  If you have memories of an awesome father, share them with someone.  If you have men who made an impact in your life, tell them.  If you know someone who is an awesome father, let them know.  If you are struggling, know that I am praying for you today.  

     Happy Father's Day to all those men who are making a positive impact on a child today.  
Today, I celebrate all that you do!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Card Lady

     The Card Lady...we all know one.  That person who seems to always find the exact right card for each person, for each occasion.  Your fish drowned?  She has a card for that.  New house or job?  Yep, card for that as well.  Birthdays and anniversaries are always remembered by the Card Lady...and they are always on time, never late.  Sometimes the Card Lady sends a card just to say hello.  And her cards always bring such smiles when they are received!

     I have always envied the Card Ladies in my life.  I never remember dates.  I remember vaguely when events happen...I mostly know if someone has a birthday in June, but I have no idea what the date could be.  Facebook has made it even worse.  There are dates I should remember, but forget until I see the notification that it is an important birthday.  I am a slacker.  Everyone knows that about me.  I generally send cards late, if at all.  My poor mom got her birthday card late...again.

     The Card Ladies always seem to have a supply of cards at the ready, all the time.  I seem to run out to get a card at the last minute all the time.  And then I have to take what I can find, even if it isn't the "perfect" card!  I have been known to get a card and then forget to send it all together (again, my mom has a Mother's Day card for next year already).  Or, I buy the card and can't find it when it is time to send it.  Or I don't have the address that I need to send a card.

     The Card Ladies are just more organised than me.  I know that I can do better...I know it!  I have a binder with space for cards...I have had it for a long time.  In fact, there are cards in the binder, I just haven't sent them because I forget the dates.  I have a smart phone now...I can put those important dates in my phone.  I can set alarms.  I work at a store that sells cards, how hard can it be to buy cards?  I have stamps at home (yes, they are left over from Christmas, but they still work for cards of any kind).  So I am out of excuses, it's time for me to become one of the Card Ladies that we all love so much!

     Just don't hold your breathe, it might take me a minute or two to get your card in the mail.

Happy Camper

     Last Sunday, Delainey went to camp.  This is her second year at the camp, so she wasn't afraid of the unknown.  She was looking forward to seeing fellow campers and directors.  She was looking forward to climbing the rock wall and swimming.  She talked nonstop about canoeing and crafts.  She was excited!
     As we drove to the camp, she cried....all the way there.  Jim and I were ready to turn the car around and go home to keep our baby from crying.  It wasn't big sobbing type of cry, it was the silent, tears rolling down her face type of cry.  It was the type of cry that breaks my heart when I see my baby cry like that.  We tried to talk through her tears, but they kept coming.  It wasn't so much that she didn't want to go to camp, it was that she was going to miss us.

     It's no secret that Jim, Delainey, and I are close.  We don't have family near us, so we rely on each other pretty heavily.  We spend most of our free time together.  I understand how she feels about missing us, because I knew that we will miss her as well.  But, we all need time away...time to grow, explore, relax, be with friends.  And as D grows, there will be more time away from us...and there will be a time that we miss her more than she misses us, which is how things should be in life.

     So, we didn't turn around.  We kept driving to camp.  And she kept crying.  We would reach around and hold her hand...and she would squeeze.  I know that Jim's heart was week is hard on him.  Then we pulled into camp.  We were met at the gate by some of the counselors, waving and smiling.  And the tears stopped.  We looked back and our baby was smiling, a big smile with her entire face!

     We went to registration, and I felt like my baby was Norm on the tv show Cheers.  Everyone was saying her name, hugging her and welcoming her to camp.  She took her popsicle, got her hugs, and the tears were forgotten.  When it was time for her to go off with the rest of the campers, she was ready.  Jim and I got hugs and she happily went off.  That was when I was ready to grab her and take her home with me, because my tears were ready to start.

     Jim and I took a tour of the camp and got to see her cabin (which was different than last year).  It is a lovely camp, cared for by people who care about the camp and the campers.  It is the type of camp I would love to have gone to as a child.  Our tour ended and we walked back to our car.  Then we heard a sound that made us smile...a belly laugh from our girl.  She saw us, gave us a little wave, and then went back to her game.  All would be well for the week!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Share Your Story!

     "Tell it to your children,
and let your children tell it their children,
and their children to the next generation."
Joel 1:3

     A few weeks ago, I attended the 2015 Indiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church as a representative of my church.  The theme for the conference was "Share Your Story".  Several people shared their stories with everyone.  Stories of new churches starting, stories of ordination of new pastors, stories of retiring pastors, stories of why we were at Conference.  We were all encouraged to share our stories with each other.  We got stickers to wear that say "I have a story to tell".  Of course, if you had that sticker on, it meant the someone might ask you what's your story!

     I overheard several people saying the same thing that I was thinking.  Do I have a story?  

     Jim and I  have been watching the TV miniseries called AD and are attending a Bible study based on the show. One of the featured people is Saul.  Saul has a story.  He once persecuted the early Christians.  One the way to Damascus, he spoke with Jesus and was blinded.  After three days, his sight was restored and he become filled with the Holy Spirit.  Saul spread the story of Jesus throughout many places.  Thar's a story!  Another "big" story is the one that Lazarus had to tell.  Lazarus died.  Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus.  And then Jesus raised him from the dead.  What a story!  Those men, they had BIG stories to tell.  

     The Bible is filled with people who have stories, really big stories.  But there are also small stories that are just as important.  People who lived their lives doing what God wanted them to do.  Sharing the ordinary day to day things just like we do now.  There are moments in life that we can look at and say, yep, that was all God.  It's those God-moments that are part of our story that we need to share.Those moments that you don't think are a big deal, but might be a big deal to someone else.

     I have a friend who shares of abuse that she suffered as a child.  Another who shares her story of addiction.  Another friend who shares her journey to find wellness in her life.  Another who shares his struggle through the loss of a loved one.  Another who shares the story of having a special needs child. Those people share their stories so that others will know they are not alone.  They share their stories to inspire others.  They share their stories to inform others.  They share their stories to connect with others. They share their stories to help them heal.  

     We all have a story to what's your story?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

12 Years

     Twelve years ago today, I began a new chapter in my life once again.  I was getting ready to get married.  I really never thought that I would get married a second time.  I believe that marriage is forever.  My first marriage ended...I tried to "fix" it, but marriage takes two, one person can't fix a broken marriage.  I decided at that point, I was done with marriage.  I truly believe that everyone should be married once, but that was my limit.   And then I met Jim....

     I met Jim at work.  It wasn't love at first sight...although I can remember our first conversation (not romantic at all, he asked me to help him get carts from the parking lot).  He was truly a nice guy.  We talked and got to know each other.  I respected the importance that he placed on his family.  He showed me pictures of his boys.  He was respectful when he spoke of his ex-wife.  He was a hard worker.  I began to look forward to our conversations.  And then one day we went to lunch together.

     Our lunch wasn't at a romantic location...seriously, Wendy's.  We each had a jr bacon cheeseburger (he had two), fries, and a coke.  But that lunch changed the course of our friendship.  We both knew that there was more to come.  We began to talk more, share more of our lives together, spend more time together.  And less than a year after that first lunch, we went to a little wedding chapel in Greenfield and got married.  We vowed before God, our family, and our friends to love each other through all that life brings us.

     Our marriage hasn't always been easy.  We have had ups and downs, times where we weren't sure that we would be together, but we have fought through those times.  We have been through a huge location change that was so hard on me...I am sure that it was really rough on Jim dealing with me during that time.  We have been through Jim's cancer.  We have the blessing of a daughter.  We are watching the boys grow into young men starting their own adventures in life.  We have the simple moments each day.

     The last twelve years have been a partnership of two people committed to making a life together.  It is a journey each day.  Our marriage is a choice that we made then, a choice that we make now, every single day.  It is not perfect...but there is no one that I would rather be imperfect with than Jim!  I am looking forward to each new day of our journey together.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

50---My Way

     Yesterday I turned 50.  I have been setting such high expectations for this milestone birthday.  My other milestone birthdays have just been like any other days.  When I turned 21, I didn't have any friends nearby to go to bars.  Instead, my best friend's parents fixed me dinner and took me out to the local watering hole for my first legal drink.  30 was just plain awful.  I literally could not say the word, instead I turned 20-10.  Seriously...and that's all I have to say about that.  40 was better than 30 (it would have to be), but I was still mentally and emotionally recovering from a miscarriage earlier in the year.  I have no idea what I did that day.  40 turned out to be a pretty good year for me as that was the year that Delainey was born.  In my mind, I deserved to have an memorable 50th.

     I started comparing my turning 50 to other people turning 50.  I know people who had huge parties, others who went to fancy events, and still others who went on grand vacations to celebrate.  I thought that was what I wanted.  But then I realised, that truly isn't me.  I don't want a party where I am the center of attention.  I am not a fancy person...I would have to buy a new outfit for a fancy occasion.  And a grand vacation isn't in our budget this year.  And that's when I realised that the important thing for me about turning 50 was to be able to spend time with my family.  So that's what we did.

     I had a marvelous day!  I woke up and did some laundry.  I fixed breakfast for my family.  And then like a herd of turtles, we were off!  We spent the day at Lincoln State Park.  We stopped and bought some groceries for the day...ham, cheese, fruit, snacks, and drinks.  As we stopped by the picnic area, we spotted a doe and her fawn, just watching from the edge of the woods.   Then we headed out for our hike.  It wasn't a long or hard hike, just under 2 miles, but this out of shape family enjoyed the walk.  Jim decided to climb to the top of the fire tower while D and I cheered him on from the bench.  By the time we got back to the car, we decided to take a drive around the park with the AC on to cool off.

     Jim brought his fishing gear, so he set off for a little quiet time to find a good fishing hole!  Jim loves to fish and doesn't do it nearly often enough.  D and I changed into our swimsuits and went to the beach area for some swim time.  D loved it.  She had a chance to practice some of her new moves that she has been learning at swim lessons.  The water was cool, but after our hike, it felt heavenly.  I am more of a wader in lake water, so that's what I did.  D and I found some small shells to add to our family collection of shells. After a quick shower and change, we found Jim and decided to visit the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial.

     The Memorial was a nice place.  We went in backwards and were tired, so it didn't seem cohesive to us.  After visiting the actual visitor center last, what we saw made more sense.  The state park has a very cool plaza that would, in my mind, fit in better at the national memorial, but who I am to judge!  D did get sworn in as a junior ranger after she completed an activity booklet about Lincoln.  It was a quick trip for us, but had we not been tired, would have been more interesting.

     We had dinner in Santa Claus, IN (Frosty's...good food and free mini-golf) and headed for home...the Predmore way, off the beaten path.  Jim programed our GPS for the shortest distance, which always takes us the winding, interesting way.  We drove through Ferdinand, which has a monastery and some pretty cool architecture.  We have decided that it could be worth a visit some day.  We continued down country roads that twisted and turned, all the while watching to be sure no critters ran into the car (we missed a fox that ran out in front of us).  We laughed and unwound from our day.

     I turned 50 yesterday, and I did it my way.  I didn't think about how other people celebrated.  I didn't worry about what others would think.  That's how I hope to live out the next year.  I want to spend my time not worrying what others think.  I want to enjoy my family not comparing us to other families.  And above all else, I want to live my life pleasing God.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Celebration Week!

     It is Celebration Week at our house.  We are celebrating very differently than what has become our norm.  This is usually the week we reserve for our "big" vacation of the year.  Last year, we went to Maine, a few years ago we celebrated our week in Disney, one year a cabin in Wisconsin.  This year, we are not on vacation this week.  I am not sure that I like being home for Celebration Week, but the celebrations will happen where ever we are!
     The first event we celebrate is Jim's birthday.  This year, we both worked on his birthday.  I feel bad about that.  There wasn't much of a party...just a homemade meal (Mexican) with some beer, cupcakes, and a few gifts.  Jim is such an awesome man and he deserves a huge celebration of his birth.  He works hard to support his family in a demanding job.  There aren't words to say that could ever express how much I love and appreciate him.  If everyone who loved and respected Jim all gathered together on his birthday, June 3 would be one of the biggest party days ever.

     The second event in our week long celebration is June 5, which is my birthday.  Normally, I am pretty low key about my birthday, but this year I have been pretty demanding.  I have wanted my 50th (yes, 50) to be special.  And yesterday, I realized that what I want most is just to spend the day with Jim and Delainey doing the normal things we always do together.  We are heading to a new to us state park for a day of hiking, picnicking and just being together.  I am looking forward to the quiet of nature, our relaxing together, and sweating (okay, maybe not sweating).

     The last event that we will celebrate happens Sunday, which is our 12th anniversary.  It's hard to believe that twelve years ago, we made our vows before God, family, and friends.  Things haven't always been easy, we have been through more than I ever thought possible, but we are still here, still together, and stronger than ever.  We haven't made any plans other than attending church Sunday morning, and that's okay.  Sunday is usually a day that we relax at home and get ready for the upcoming week.  I am hoping we can get something special from the farmer's market Saturday to fix for our anniversary meal Sunday.  As long as I can spend the day with Jim, it's all good!

     Jim and I as individuals are far from perfect.  Our marriage, wonderful as it is, is far from perfect.  We are happy, healthy, and glad to have made it through another year, older, wiser, and still standing.  Celebration Week this year looks different than usual, but there is still plenty to celebrate!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Missing the Party...Again

     In the fall of 1984 I packed my things, left home, and moved into a college dorm.  I fell in love with college life.  I loved living in the dorm...there was always someone around if you didn't want to be alone, no matter what time of day.  I was lucky enough to make some friends who lived in the dorm next to mine.  As soon as there was an opening, I moved into that dorm...Schmidt Hall.

     I spent all four years of college living in that dorm.  I thought of moving into other dorms, but Schmidt was my home away from home.  I never even really considered living off campus like many other college students.  I was content in the dorm.  When I got up early on Sunday morning, I had someone to watch wrestling with downstairs in the lobby.  If I was bored, there was always someone doing something crazy like rearranging the lobby furniture into an architectural model.  I went on a canoe trip with my dorm-mates.  That's where I learned that you can brush your teeth and rinse with beer.  I wouldn't advise that, but when you take more beer than water on an overnight canoe trip, you have to do something.  I went with a group of dorm friends to King's Island to celebrate when one of our group turned 21.  That same friend just recently turned 50.

     Some of those dorm friends have been part of my life on a  regular basis since those days. I have reconnected with many more of them through Facebook.  We have been together in sickness and health, marriages and divorces.  We have been together through the birth of our children.  One of Delainey's most prized possessions, her blanket we call Mrs. Hannon, came from one of those was a roundabout connection through Schmidt, but the connection was there.  We have watched our children grow and have seen a second generation attend (and graduate from) Ball State, although none have lived in Schmidt.

     Why on earth would I be talking about my college dorm friends  today?  Well, many of them are gathering today for the Annual Race Party.  The excuse for the party is the Indy 500, although it really is a side show.  There is no cable or satellite tv, so watching the race  is sketchy at best.  After the race, there will be a rubber duck race or two in the river behind the hosts house.  There will be lots of laughter, catching up, and reminiscing about our college days. Children will be playing, canoes and kayaks will be out, people will be eating and drinking and being merry.

     And I won't be there.  Again. I now live 4 hours from the party.  Jim has to work.  And this month has been crazy busy with so many things going on between school, church, and 4H activities.  So, I will wait to see pictures and updates about the party on Facebook.  I will be there in spirit, but not in body.  I will start planning today to make it to the party next year and hope that life doesn't get so busy that once again I will miss the party.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Part of Getting Older?

     My body is hurting.  I have been having massive pains in my shoulder that are causing numbness in my arm and hand.  My other hand/wrist is aching from carpel tunnel.  My hips ache in the mornings.  My hair is still falling out and I have hot flashes.  I am tired.  And my weight, well, let's just say that it isn't pretty right now.  I have been told that this is all just part of getting old.  I refuse to age this way!

     After a week of pain, Jim called his chiropractor for me.  The doctor did an exam.  There was no trigger for any of my aches and pains, just a gradual building of stress in my body. I haven't been eating right at food, chocolate, and my weakness, coke have been part of my diet for a while again.  Meal planning has gone out the window.  I have never been a big exercise person, but I at least would go for walks.  Now I come home and collapse on the couch.  I took vitamins and supplements for a while, but I would forget so often that I just gave up the whole process.

     The doctor and I talked.  Until my shoulder is better, I will be seeing him twice a week (hopefully only 2 or three weeks since my insurance doesn't see chiropractic care as important).  I have some stretches to do for my shoulder to help ease the pain, along with Biofreeze, ice. and naproxin.  Exercise needs to become a daily part of my life.  I need to think about the foods that go into my body.  And  I need to research what supplements I should take to make sure that my body stops hurting and starts healing.

     For me, it's all about getting balance back into my life.  I am not going to be someone who blames everything on getting old.  Yes, things change in our bodies as we age, but we can make those changes positive ones.  I am going to greet fifty with a plan in place for exercising and filling my body with the right things for a change.  I plan on being fifty and fabulous!  Now excuse me while I go put some Biofreeze on my shoulder!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Balance 2015

     My word for 2014 keeps finding me.  It just won't let me go.  I was shopping with the family and saw a bracelet that says balance.  I bought it.  A friend gave me a bracelet with water from Mt Everest and mud from the Dead Sea in separate beads...the highest and lowest points on earth.  It is to remind me to stay humble and and stay balanced.

     About a year ago, several things happened that threw me off balance and I am not sure that I have ever fully regained that balance that I was working toward.  It didn't seem right to reuse my word last January, but in hindsight, I was not done with the journey to a more balanced life.  So I am reclaiming the word balance for 2015.  Some day, I will be ready to simplify life, but not right now.  Right now, it's back to finding my balance.

     Balance...finding the right mix of work and home, finding time for me, finding time for Jim and I, finding family time, finding time for God and increasing my faith, finding my path to healthy eating and exercise (I really hate the E word), finding the balance of giving and saving.  

     This is my journey for the rest of 2015.  It all starts with baby steps, wobbly little baby steps that slowly but surely become more balanced as the year goes on.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ft. Harrison State Park

     I have been on a staycation this week.  Jim was attending meetings out of state, Delainey was a school, so I had some free time to work on one of my hobbies...scrapbooking.  I don't do fancy scrapbooks.  I don't have the time or the energy.  I get my pictures in the books with some stickers and journaling.  I am lucky that I trim the pictures and make the corners round instead of square.  I am really behind, so I spent time catching up on 2009 and 2011.  Going through our pictures, I found that we visited one place over and over again...Ft Harrison State Park in Indianapolis.
     My family loves going to state parks.  The price is always right since we buy a year long pass for $40.  For that, we get into all of the state parks in Indiana for free.  Most of the parks have hiking paths, picnic areas, and playgrounds, perfect for a day of fun.  If you have never been to one of the state parks, you are missing out on loads of fun.
     Ft. Harrison has so much to offer.  There are some hikes that are paved...good for running, taking a nice easy stroll, biking, or pushing a stroller with little ones.  There are some hikes that are a little more challenging, although none are really rough.  Each season offers beautiful scenery at the park.  We have gone fishing while hiking, waded in streams going through the trails, and cooled off in the shade while walking.
     Delainey's favorite thing about Ft Harrison is the pony rides!  For $3, she was able to get on a pony and while Jim or I led her,  go on a real pony ride.  Every time we went, she wanted to ride her favorite pony, Strawberry.  Last time we were there, we found out that Strawberry has retired.  D was sad that she couldn't see her any more, but so happy that she is enjoying retirement.  Last fall, Delainey was finally able to go on her first trail ride at the park.  We rode through the park on horses that were so calm and gentle.  We enjoyed seeing the park from horseback instead of walking.
     There are several playground areas at Ft Harrison.  One of the playgrounds has a slide built into a hill...big enough for everyone, not just kids.  Delainey makes friends every time we go to the playground.  There are rocks to climb, swings to ride, everything a cool playground should have!  I met a group of moms at Ft Harrison one day for a gathering.  Our kids decided to climb one of the big hills by the playground and then roll down!  Lots of dizzy, itchy (from the grass) kids, but it looked like bunches of fun!
     My family went to Ft Harrison with a photographer friend for some family pictures.  There were many places to go for pictures, we really had to stop thinking about the possibilities.  The pictures turned out great and we have even more memories of the park.  We have seen many people taking family pictures in various locations of the park.
     If you have never been to Ft Harrison State Park, you are truly missing out on one of Indianapolis's gems.  Please take some time this spring (or summer, or fall, or winter) and explore nature.  Every time you go, there are new and exciting things to see!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

One family, Three words

     Last year, we had balance as our family word.  It was a good word for the three of us, although we all had slightly different thoughts behind the word.  My balance was out of whack for the latter part of the year, for several reasons.  Keeping balance will hopefully stay part of our family for 2015.  This year, we each have our own word.  We never really talked about a family word, we each had a different word speak to us this year.

  1. finish making or doing.

     Delainey's word is "complete".  I asked her what she means by complete she told me that she is going to finish what she starts this year.  I will be interested in watching this unfold in her year (maybe it will start with cleaning her room).

an intense desire or enthusiasm for something.

     Jim's word is "passion".  He says that it is "more passion for my family, faith, and life."  I think that Jim has plenty of passion for those things already, but words are personal, so I know that he has his reasons.  I will be eagerly watching Jim's word work through the year as well.

  1. make (something) simpler or easier to do or understand.

     My word is simplify.  I tend to get caught up in things and become overwhelmed.  I want to focus on the simple things in life over the next year.  I want to take time to enjoy things that have gotten away from me in 2014... hiking, meal planning, cooking from scratch, relaxing with my family.  I want to make life easier for myself and my family.  I have some plans for how I am going to do this, but I don't want to get caught up in the planning and make simplifying my life more difficult.

     A new year is full of promise...adventures to come, dreams to come true, and life to live.  I am looking forward to 2015!  Happy New Year!