Parents, Hold Your Children Close

Yesterday morning our 6 year old granddaughter had her kindergarten graduation ceremony. Proud parents and grandparents, along with various other family members and friends filled the auditorium as six kindergarten classes filed onto the stage for their big morning. Some 70 children total.

And then the emotions hit me, along with a lot of others in that auditorium. We had all driven to the elementary school, driven past those flags at half mast at so many locations. We knew what had happened the day before, and we were still reeling from it all. 

And then we saw our kids, grandkids, excited children getting ready to move up to first grade…the new class of 2034, as the principal later said.

And then the emotions came, as the ceremony started with a moment of silence for those young lives lost so tragically in Texas the day before, along with two of their teachers.

I looked at those precious children, my oldest granddaughter and her little friends, many of whom I knew as well. And the enormity of what had happened some mere 24 hours earlier hit me like a ton of bricks.

Each of those young lives had once sat on a stage very much like this, with their families in attendance, cheering them on after their first year in school…kindergartners graduating to first grade. Their lives and bright futures ahead of them.

But no one knew what would happen in the next several years. No one suspected or even imagined what would take place, forever wiping out the smiles of these children, forever destroying their families. Their parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters losing a part of themselves.

The loss is incomprehensible. The grief unimaginable. And I found myself near tears as I silently prayed protection over these precious children in front of me.

I cannot begin to understand, or to even imagine how those families feel. I cannot imagine how they themselves will survive the next few days, weeks, months, and yes, even years, as they try to cope with such senseless and devastating loss. 

And yes, we were all proud of our little graduates today, and cheering on their achievements. Wondering what their futures hold for them as future scientists, doctors, astronauts, musicians, teachers…and what great things they will accomplish.

At the same time we mourn the loss of those other future scientists, doctors, etc. who will never see those goals accomplished. And the world is a darker place because of it.

These senseless and selfish acts of violence perpetrated by a hatred so unimaginable must stop, and it must stop now. Before other precious lives are lost. 

I do not pretend to have a solution. This person who committed this heinous crime bought the weapons legally. Gun laws didn’t stop him. I have to believe he was severely mentally disturbed. Why did no one see that? And where were the security guards at the school? Would metal detectors have helped? I think they would have. 

Hindsight is 20-20, as we know. We can unfortunately not change the past. But we MUST change the future somehow and determine how to protect these precious children that have been entrusted to us. This cannot continue.

Parents, hold these precious ones close. Tell them you love them every chance you get. And when you’re upset with them, and at your wit’s end, remember that these little ones are a precious gift that needs to be appreciated and loved every day. 

Because in this world, we just don’t know….

May God bless all of these families whose lives will never be the same. And please, let’s all stop the finger pointing and work together to find a solution to this madness. 

Our futures are at stake…and our most precious gift, which are our children.

Waiting

It’s probably one of the hardest things many of us can do.

And I’m not talking about waiting for your order to be delivered at your favorite restaurant. Or for a movie to begin that you’ve been wanting to see for weeks.

I’m talking about anticipating something happening. Maybe we know when and maybe we don’t. Either way it’s not easy for a lot of us.

We wait to hear back from a job interview that we really want. They say they’ll let you know soon. But soon seems to take forever and that whole time you’re wondering what the answer will be.

You’re waiting to hear back on an offer you’ve put in on a home. You really, really want that house, and it seems to be taking forever to hear back from your realtor to find out if that offer has been accepted.

Maybe you’re waiting for a marriage proposal from that special person you’ve been seeing. You want it to happen NOW, and perhaps you’re worrying if it’ll happen at all. Or you’re waiting for the person you just met the other night to call you like he/she said they would. And it seems to take forever.

Or you’re waiting for a doctor appointment that you’re dreading. Maybe because you’re having problems and symptoms that you know could end up in a bad diagnosis. Or you’re possibly facing surgery that you need but are really scared to have, even though everyone says it’s nothing, a piece of cake!

Maybe a loved one is very sick, and you’re extremely worried that every phone call, every text message, may bring bad news. News that you’re expecting but not wanting to hear.

Or you’re waiting to find out the results of a pregnancy test; worried about what the results will be. If you don’t want to be pregnant that’s a lot of worries. If you’re trying desperately to get pregnant with no success so far, that’s even harder.

Maybe you’re waiting for a call from a friend who promised they’d call or text you so you can get together and catch up. You keep waiting, and waiting…bur there’s no call…

Or you’re waiting for your spouse or child to come ho,me and it’s late; past the time they’re supposed to be there. You wait and worry about what’s wrong and it’s even worse because they’re not answering their phone.

Waiting isn’t easy. You worry. You wonder. Your mind goes crazy imagining all sorts of things…good and bad. You’re anxious. You can’t sleep.

Yes, I’ve been there. I’ve been there myself and I’ve been there with family and close friends. It doesn’t get easier. It’s hard. People say to have patience. Well, that’s not always easy to do in certain circumstances. 

I remember a few months ago after I’d had my annual mammogram and the imaging center called and said I had to have it redone because the tech saw some tissue that didn’t look right. I got the next available appointment which was 5 days later. Five days to worry; deep inside I knew it was ok, but it didn’t stop me from worrying and counting the hours until the appointment. And yes, it was ok. But still, the waiting was awful.

Children have a hard time waiting for Christmas to come, or for their birthdays. But as adults, the things we find ourselves waiting for are far more serious than those we wait for as children. But in a child’s mind those things are just as major as the ones we wait for as adults.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

Waiting is never easy. It’s stressful, and it’s not fun. But we all do it. We have no choice. There’s nothing instantaneous in this lifetime.

But most times, what we wait for turns out to be worth the wait. Many times it doesn’t seem like it, because what we wait for may not happen the way we want it to. However, most of the time the end result of that wait turns out to be positive. Although we may not know it at that time, and it may not be what we expected.

And yes, sometimes the answer isn’t good. But we have to deal with it and handle it the best we can. That’s not easy either, but that discussion is for another time.

Are you waiting for something? Impatiently or patiently? Impatience won’t make it happen any quicker, you know.

We all go through it. We’ve all been there. But what you’re waiting for will most likely be worth it when it happens. Even if it’s not quite the way you expected.

Sometimes

…the best things in life come from the unexpected 

…life chews up the plans you so carefully made and gives you something better

…you let life get the best of you and don’t try to discover how you can change your life 

…you have to go with the flow, go with your feelings, instead of planning everything out to the Nth degree

…in life it’s important to stop thinking of what might have been and start thinking about what could be.

…life has a way of doling out what you didn’t want at the most inconvenient moment 

…you can’t understand why life won’t go your way. Until you find out there was a better way than yours all along

…plans are only in our heads. Life usually has its own plan.

…in a box of seemingly ordinary things, you find something extraordinary 

…life sends you change that you wouldn’t have chosen, but it works out in unexpected ways

…we have no choice but to make changes. But sometimes those changes are exactly what we need and work out for the best.

…you discover it’s better to excel at being who you really are than fail at being what you’re not.

…you discover the longer you leave someone behind the harder it is to bridge the gap back to each other

…you wait for that other person to contact you, and when they don’t you’re not sure how to ever make things right again.

Any of these fit your current situation?

Let’s Make a Hat

As a little girl I loved playing “dress up”. So did my daughter, and now her own two daughters. And of course that included hats! 

I particularly liked playing with my mom’s hats, thinking those hats made me look so fashionable! Mom had a lot of them, because in the 50’s almost all women wore hats to church, and she was no exception.

And of course, as little girls, we always had to have new hats for Easter Sunday, to match our new dresses and shoes. We all looked so great, or we sure thought we did.

Back then the department stores even had separate hat departments with tables and tables of ladies hats to select from. After finding the perfect one it would be lovingly boxed in a square or round hat box which was also used to store those special hats in bedroom closets.

But wearing hats sort of gradually went out of style in the 60’s, but my mom still kept those hats in the attic, and I found several of them when I cleaned out her house 15 years ago. 

Sure wish I’d kept them! Because we could’ve used them for our latest project.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with all of the fancy hats that are regularly sported in England at royal formal events, and other special occasions.

And then there’s the Kentucky Derby. Famous for the spectacular horse race itself, the first jewel in the Triple Crown, but also famous for the magnificent if not often outlandish hats worn by the ladies, and some of the men as well.

Now it’s become increasingly popular around the country to have Derby Day festivities at local restaurants, wineries, and breweries, featuring televised races, various contests, and now…hat making!

A few years ago my best friend and I had a Mother’s Day hat-making tea party which was a lot of fun. Of course mine was a work of art featuring a flamingo. What else!?

This year was even better! My best friend Karen Gould has her own marketing and event company, Main Stream Events, and on occasion I help her out for certain events.

This year we held a Kentucky Derby hat making event at New Realm Brewery in Virginia Beach. And we had a great time! I had made several hats for the event to use as displays. It’s really not hard. All you need is a hat, a glue gun, and ribbon and flowers. Or anything else you’d like to add!

To say the event was a big success is an understatement! Not only did we have a great time helping our participants, but the hat designers had a great time as well! They were all very creative, and put together their own personal masterpieces with very little help from Karen and me.

We even had men as well as children decorating hats! 

I think we may even have some new fashion designers! What do you think?

Life Doesn’t Come with a Remote

You have to get up and change it yourself.

You want to change the direction your life is going? Wishing won’t make it happen.

Waiting for something to happen won’t make a change. Because it’s all up to you.

It’s your life. You’re the only one who can make a change.

There’s no remote control for this one. You just have to get up and do it yourself.

Life Doesn’t Stand Still

It’s constantly changing. 

So why are you trying so hard to stop it?

You don’t like change? Well, neither do I.  But it’s a part of life. And it’s what makes it interesting.

Life isn’t static. Would you really want it to be? Sure, there are moments we want to keep, want to last forever, but that isn’t how it works. 

Maybe you really want your life to stay exactly like it is. The same thing day after day. Never moving ahead. No surprises. 

But no excitement. No adventure. Nothing to look forward to. Nothing new happening. I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds really boring,

Is that really what you’re looking for? Staying with the status quo? Day after day after day…?

As much as I don’t like change, I don’t want static and mundane. I want to be challenged. I want to move forward.

Yes, there are risks, but that’s all part of life. If you don’t take a risk once in a while, you’ll never know what could have been.

Change is a part of life. You wouldn’t want your children to stay the same age forever, any more than you’d want to stay the same age forever. Sure, getting older does have its downsides, but that’s part of life as well. Those of us in certain age groups joke about being 39 and holding, but you can’t hold on that age forever! Except in your mind.

Still Missing You

It’s now been almost sixteen years since I last spoke to you. Since I was last able to hug you and kiss you. Talk about life and share stories.

It’s been too long since I was last able to talk to you about things I was going through; that I needed your advice about. And there have been so very many times in these last almost 16 years that I’ve needed to talk to you. To tell you what’s going on. 

To tell you about our happy times. About your granddaughter’s wedding and her wonderful husband. To tell you about your two beautiful great granddaughters, one who’s named after you.

To tell you about your friends and what’s been going on in their lives.

To ask for your guidance and advice, because even though I’m an adult, and now a grandmother as well, I still want so much to be able to talk with you and ask for your help. 

Although I’ve been on my own without you for all this time, it doesn’t mean that I don’t still want your insight on life. I miss being able to talk about my problems with you. Because you always seemed to have the right answers, whether I understood it at the time or not.

You and I survived the untimely loss of my father together. You were there for me while your own heart was shattered into a zillion pieces, and while I didn’t totally understand the whole situation and what it meant, since I was only 8 years old, you hid so much pain from me so I could have as normal a childhood as possible, with you being mom as well as dad to me.

It wasn’t until I lost you that I discovered all the challenges and problems you faced during that time. You never told me, and I’d never asked.

You helped me through two painful divorces and never once criticized my choices. You helped me through heartbreak and encouraged me that I’d eventually find the right one. And you were right.

You were with me when my husband Ben went through his first open heart surgery, at a time when that was not a common operation. You were probably as worried as I was, but you never told me. You only encouraged me and assured me he’d be okay. And he was.

You supported me in the pain of infertility; you rejoiced with me when I finally got pregnant and gave you a granddaughter. And you suffered with me when I had a tubal pregnancy which caused me to lose the babies I was carrying, and almost caused me to lose my mind. Because you knew exactly how I felt, because you’d had the same problems, but had kept them all to yourself.

You loved your granddaughter unconditionally and did everything you could for her. And you would have been so very happy to see her married and now with two little girls of her own.

So many times I’ve wanted to be able to tell you. To share with you, and ask what advice you could give in so many situations. Or just listen to me share my joys as well as my worries.

I miss you so much. Holidays and family times are still not the same without you. I still miss your smile, your presence, and your unconditional love. I still dream about your being with us, and wake up wondering if that dream was sent to me to remind me you’re still watching over me. There are even times, when out of nowhere, I clearly hear your voice saying my name. 

I will continue to miss you because we are part of each other. I will always love you. And I will never forget you.

And I know the day will come when we are together again. Until then,

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you.

All About Attitude

If you go into something believing the worst, believing nothing good will happen, then chances are it probably won’t.

But if you go into that something with an open mind, believing good things will happen and you’ll enjoy what you set out to do, chances are those good things will happen.

Do you need to change your attitude? There’s no time like now!

Trusting

Today I’m reminded of a story I’ve heard over the years about a man who trusted God in every situation.

Until this one particular day.

He was drowning during a flood. Literally. And prayed intently to the Lord to save him. He had unquestionable faith and knew his God would save him. 

A man came by in a rowboat and told the drowning man to get in and they’d row to safety. But the drowning man refused, saying simply “Thank you, but my God is going to save me.” So the man rowed away to rescue someone else.

Another man came by in a large motorboat, actually a yacht, filled with people. They were obviously having a party on board.

“Hang on,” the boat captain said, “we’re lowering a lifeboat to come get you! You’ll be safe”! 

But the drowning man simply thanked the boat captain and replied, “I’ll be fine. My God is going to save me.” 

The captain shook his head and called the lifeboat back. And they went on their way.

The drowning man continued to

pray for the Lord to save him, because he was becoming exhausted. The water was getting colder, and he knew he couldn’t tread water much longer.

Just then a helicopter appeared overhead and started dropping him a lifeline. “Grab hold of it, sir, and we’ll pull you up to safety!”

But again the man refused. “My God will save me,” he said. So the helicopter flew away, pulling its empty lifeline up as it went.

The next thing the man knew, he was standing in front of the Lord. “Why, Lord? Why did you not save me? I prayed. I believed.”

“My son, I heard your cries,” the Lord began. “And I answered. I sent two boats and a helicopter to rescue you. But you refused my help. Just because the help I sent you wasn’t what you expected, didn’t mean I wasn’t helping you. I answer prayers in My way. It’s up to you to accept what I do.”

Why tell this story now?

Think about what’s going on today. We pray for help, but because we don’t get that help in the form we expect, or even demand, we think our prayers aren’t being answered.

But did anyone stop to think that our being saved from this pandemic may just involve the scientists that have received extensive training in their fields and are providing ways to keep us safe? That the medical knowledge they are using is an answer to prayers? Just not the way we expected it. Or demanded it. 

The scriptures speak of physicians and doctors. One of Jesus’ disciples was a physician.

I have seen miracles firsthand of healing not necessarily through medical intervention, because the doctors had tried all they knew to try. But our prayers called forth a heavenly hand of healing and miracles were seen. It happens.

I’ve known people healed from serious, even life threatening events, because the doctors and nurses had the training and the knowledge to know exactly what to do. 

I’ve also seen others pass away even though a chorus of prayers were diligently prayed in faith believing for a miracle. Medical science couldn’t do it, and God did it in His own way.

Our way isn’t always how we think

it should be, and God’s way is also not always how we think it should be. Who are we to tell our creator he isn’t doing things the way He should? Isn’t that telling Him we know better than He does?

Who are we to insist certain things are wrong because they’re based on science and not faith? The way I see it, the Lord gives us knowledge. He gives us people who can use that knowledge to help others. 

Because He has a plan that only He knows. And He knows the outcome of that plan.

Who are we to insist we know better than the God we profess to love? 

How many times will He answer our prayers with boats and helicopters instead of the way we insist He do it?

And how many times will we refuse the help we’ve prayed for because that help doesn’t fit into what we expect?

Is that what you might be doing?

Flamingos Love Jewelry

Designed just with them in mind!

Seriously… they were begging! And have you ever seen a flamingo on her wings and knees? Almost crying for me to make some flamingo bracelets and necklaces for them.

It was really a sad sight to behold. So what choice did I have? After all, it’s not nice to disappoint the flamingos!

But I had to have the right beads or I couldn’t create the perfect collection. It had to be just right. Something fun, but casual. Bright colors to match their bright feathers. Lots of pink, of course, but I also needed touches of contrast, white and yellow were good, but I also tried a few other color variations. Some worked. Some…not so well.

The biggest problem, however, is how to make bracelets and necklaces that the flamingos can actually wear. Their wings don’t have wrists at the end, so bracelets are a bit of a logistical problem. Necklaces are a bit easier, though, as long as they have someone to fasten them around their necks.

I finally was able to make a couple necklaces, and of course they loved them! Now they’re fighting over who gets to wear them first since I’ve only made two so far. 

The problems of being a flamingo mom….they just don’t end.

But I have managed to make several bracelets for them. And actually by trimming the feathers on their beautiful wings just a tiny bit, they’ve managed to get them on. 

You should see them flouncing around and showing them off! But they refused to let me take pictures of them wearing their new jewelry because, well they didn’t want all the other flamingos to be jealous and squawking for me to make some for them as well!

But they would let me show them off on this beautiful jewelry stand our daughter gave me for Christmas. What do you think?

So now I’m busy sorting out beads and charms to use in their new Flamingo Jewelry Collection. They haven’t said yet if they’re going to let me sell any of them or not, but just in case, here’s one that’s already listed in my shop. But don’t tell them yet! 

However, if you want it, it’s your chance to be the first one to own a bracelet from this exclusive collection! 

And please don’t tell them about the flamingo styled farmhouse garland I made. I have them listed for sale as well, but if they find out they’ll not give me any peace until I either make some for them to use at their dinner parties or take them out of the store and give the garlands to them! Decisions, decisions….

All I can say is, “keep thinking pink!” Because there’s more pink coming!

Looking Perfect

Someone may look perfect on the outside, but underneath that perfected look, there’s damage no one else can see. 

You don’t see the deep hurt inflicted from a parent’s desertion

From a lover or spouse’s betrayal or abuse 

From a child’s cutting them out of their life

From false accusations that they’re unable to disprove.

Just because no one can see the pain doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Think before you judge someone. You don’t know what they’re fighting to hide.