Saturday, February 28, 2015

Reflections

Over the past few months, I have had a few experiences that have made me stop and think about people & how each of us have different battles going on in our lives that others may or may not know about it.  I've also had a few experiences where I have heard women giving their "opinions" on other people's problems. (aka gossiping...my admitted weakness)  It has me pondering...I have certainly had my share of hardships and given people something to talk about over the years.  What were some of my "so-called" friends and/or acquaintances saying about me behind my back?  I mean, I have given them many topics to choose from - divorce, depression, Kevin's alcoholism, marrying a recovering alcoholic, not being able to have kids, depression again.  As I ponder the challenges life has thrown at me, my hope is that if/when people have talked about it, they see hope, perseverance, empathy to others, determination and an overcomer.  There were times in my depression that I wanted to just give up.  There were times when I felt that life had been unfair and given me too much.  One person shouldn't have to deal with all those obstacles.  But I fought my way both times out of my depression.  And, both times I fought my way out with pure stubbornness I guess because I never took medication.  I don't wish some of my battles on anyone...especially the infertility.  But, I also feel like each one has helped shaped me into the person I am today.  And, as I ponder these battles and coming to the other side of each one, I am trying harder to be a kinder, better person.  I am making it a goal to try to be more positive and slower to temper and remember that the person I encounter that may be cranky or different than they were yesterday, may be struggling with something I know nothing about.  Not everyone airs their problems, because so many of us are quick to judge.  I don't want to be that person.  So...if you choose to "talk about me"/gossip and my choices get the facts straight from the horse's mouth:  1) Yes, I am divorced.  No, I didn't want a divorce.  Yes, my ex-husband cheated on me numerous times.  Yes, people knew and didn't tell me.  Yes, it was what I thought at the time was the worst pain of my life.  I almost didn't survive it.  Depression followed for over a year and numerous times I came very close to suicide.  Depression is scary.  Don't judge.  Don't walk away from your friends that are suffering from it.  Be patient.  Be there.  Don't give advice.  Just love them and let them know with your presence that you aren't giving up on them. 2) Yes, Kevin was an alcoholic. Yes, he will struggle with it his entire life.  Addiction is ugly.  Don't judge.  Support.  Have his back.  Lift him up.  Pray for him daily.  He is sober now but it is a DAILY choice.  He is my best friend in the entire world.  There have been times when I felt like it was just me and him against the world.  I'm extremely proud of the man he has become.  Marriage, any marriage, has its struggles, but I don't want to be married to anyone else.  (even when he is driving me crazy - ha)  3) Infertility.  That's a tough one.  I only thought my divorce was painful.  Infertility is the WORST thing I have been through so far in this life.  It broke me for a long time.  I lost friends because of my depression.  I still struggle to this day around babies.  It's hard to explain...on the one hand, I am ok now with not having kids (a special thanks here to the folks with kids that were brutally honest about how it's not all rainbows and sunshine and there is life without them!!).  I am ok on one hand, but an insensitive comment on the other hand can leave me almost in tears. Which brings me to my goal - be kind, be positive, be nicer than you have to be.  You don't know what battles someone is going through.  Think about that the next time you sit down for a good gossip session...at least that's what I'm trying to do. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

MORE snow!

 Now, THIS I can handle because it's not ice but big pretty snow!!  We were in a little pocket though that only got about an inch if that.  But still it was pretty!  I have to say I don't ever remember getting back to back weather like this.  Last week, we missed Monday through Wednesday.  This week we have missed Monday and Tuesday and they are calling for another round of snow tomorrow!  This is cRaZy!!! 


Monday, February 23, 2015

Scrap Retreat!!!

 I was supposed to leave early Friday morning for this retreat, but trying to outsmart the weather and get ahead of possible sleet/ice on Friday morning in Central Arkansas, I headed up to Fayetteville Thursday night.  Pro:  It knocked out 3 hours of my drive.  Con: I was away for 3 nights instead of 2. (I'm a major homebody!)  It's a little over 4 hours drive for me to go to this scrapbook retreat with my bestie, but totally worth it!!  A bunch of scrappers rent a big house on a ranch in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma.  Awesomeness!
 Everyone gets their own 6 ft. table and pair up to take care of one meal while there.  So Michelle and I did BBQ nachos for one of the lunches.  Thank you Big Bear!!! :)  Good food, good conversation, time with the best friend, ...winning combinations!
 I am SO, so, so happy that Michelle and I are back to finding time to spend together again.  Twice a year now we scrap retreat.  Priceless time together. Wish we lived closer!!
This retreat I broke my all-time retreat record for pages scrapped! I scrapped 29 pages on Friday and 40 on Saturday for a grand total of 69 pages!!  I would've done even more on Sunday but I had to get up and hit the road to avoid YET ANOTHER snow storm and get home before a sleet storm hit at home. :(  I didn't even think I would get to my NYC pictures and I finished them all!!!  Woohoo!!  69 pages and 5 tape runners = scrap success!
February 20-22 Sky Ranch in Oklahoma

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day 3 Snowed In :)

Last night, a light round of actual SNOW came through and we got our 3rd day in a row at home!  Bliss!  My pups are going to be sad when I have to actually go to work! LOL!  At first, the school district was on a 2 hour delay, then about 7:30 am, they called it off.  Thank goodness too!  The roads were HORRIBLE!  Kevin (who is the opposite of me and can't stand to be trapped at home) left at 7 am to go to work at the golf course and he sat in traffic for HOURS!  The pups and I just enjoyed walks in the woods and laying around reading!!  Ahhhh!!!  #loveasnowday

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

8
READ IT!  Wow!  What a crazy ride!  I devoured this book in two days.  Couldn't put it down.  I would compare it to the crazy ride you take with Gone Girl.  A thriller!  Suspenseful!  Action! You honestly don't know what twist or turn is going to happen next...and you think this girl, the main character, can't possible screw up anymore.  Just read it and let me know what you think! :)

Summary from goodreads.com:

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.
 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ice, Ice Baby!

 Typical Arkansas weather - we were in short sleeves with 70 degree temps on Saturday and by Sunday morning, the wind chill was in the single digits with sleet that night.  So far, we missed Monday and today of school.  The roads are bad from what I hear.  I've stayed safely snuggled in the house with the furbabies except for our daily walks. :)  Our first winter weather in the new place...sure wish it were fun snow to play in.  It looks pretty, but your feet don't even make imprints.  It's a sheet of ice!  I just thank God we didn't lose power!
The future goat/chicken area! :)






First bad weather of the this winter and it's mid-February!  That hasn't happened in awhile!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Weekend in Pictures :)

 Friday night we fed the homeless and my 6th grade girls Sunday School Class has been collecting hats for the homeless, so this fun girl came and helped me pass them out!  LOVE HER!  She is so fun!  I have truly enjoyed teaching the 6th grade girls.  Hard to believe I was terrified in August! ha!  Anyway, glad we were able to get them hats and some other supplies before the temps dropped so drastically.
 Saturday (Valentine's Day) was a beautiful day on the farm! I'm not a big fan of Valentine's day - plus I truly believe that Big Bear doesn't need a day to show how much he loves me.  He does a darn good job of that daily.  I wish I were half as good at it as he is!  So, we had pizza for lunch from my favorite pizza joint and the rest of the day was dedicated to farm chores.  It was our last good weather day for awhile.  70 degree temps in February!!  There were a few "breaks" to enjoy the scenery.  You will also notice in EVERY picture of Rex, he is laying down.  The pups were outside running free from about 9:30 am to 5:00 that night and they were WORN OUT!!! Course, so were me and Big Bear!  We finished attaching one row of fencing and worked on the goat enclosure.  Two more rows of fencing and we are ready for goats!! :)







We love farm life!

We Were Liars by Lockhart

7
I don't even know what to say about this book.  It is unique.  It's a short, fast read.  It is intriguing.  It seems too simple at first, but yet you know something is coming.  It's young adult, but I can't recommend to my 5th or 6th graders because it does drop the F bomb a few times.  Just finished it this afternoon and couldn't wait to get to the end to see how it finished.  

Summary from goodreads.com:
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

6
This is a sweet story...actually the title kind of sums it up.  It's a bittersweet read.  I have really come to love historical fiction, so I did enjoy the story.  Is it one that you are going to line up to read?  Probably not, but I also don't think you would regret it if you did.  Especially if you like #1) historical fiction and #2) books set during WWII.  This one is set in America though and you get some perspective on the Japanese Americans during that time.  Makes you think!

Summary from goodreads.com:
In the opening pages of Jamie Ford's stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle's Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry's world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While "scholarshipping" at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship - and innocent love - that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.


Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel's dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family's belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice - words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Almost became a GOAT farm!

Since Kevin had a catering and had to work on my actual birthday, I took off Monday and we had my "birthday" then.  And, it almost got out of control!  We went to a REAL farm...I'm talking, they have almost every farm animal you can imagine...and we almost came back home with a goat and a lamb!!!  The first thing we saw was Ruby's twin!! (see picture above) & if you remember Simba, his twin is beside her!!  They were super friendly and I was in love!

 There were peacocks and baby goats still on the bottle & lambs still on the bottle...adorable!
 Hello!!!!  Baaaa!!! :)

 This fella and his look alike brother almost came home with us.  It was all I could do to DRAG Kevin out of there...seriously!  Crazy as it sounds, I had to be the voice of reason!  We went for fainting goats and turns out their dad was a fainting goat but their momma was something else, so they weren't fainting goats.  I wanted to wait until we found what we wanted.  Plus, we need to get their area ready!!  Ahhh!!  It's easy to get caught up in the moment! ha!

 Now, if Kevin would've said I could bring this lamb home, I'd have been all over it!  How cute is she?  But, I was loosing focus!  We need goats to clean up our brush.  What am I going to do with a sheep? ha!
 Exhibit A for what purpose behind our future goats:
 And, now picture this A frame as a future goat enclosure...goats don't like to get wet so you need something out in the pasture with them with 3 sides so they can get under it when it rains. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

29...and holding!

 My 29th birthday (again) started out celebrating with my 6th grade girls Sunday School class!!  We just had fun with it.  They started in weeks ago reminding each other to bring me M&M's, poptarts and Dr. Pepper...just a few of my favorite things! ;)  So, we had a donut breakfast and presents and then arts and crafts! Love 'em!
 Then, my family headed this way to spend the day at our place.  Mom hadn't seen it since we moved in and my niece hadn't been here yet.  So, we ate pizza and had cake and then explored the 10 acres together.  We pretty much all like to explore land.  I guess I got it naturally from my parents. :)
Bubby, Valerie and Autumn
Me with my Bubby and Mom & Dad (the originals) :)
My gorgeous niece is all grown up!
Poor Big Bear was SO tired from being up all night cooking for a catering that day for lunch!
 Autumn was excited about her "treasure" she found in the woods.   A horse skull.  She's going to clean it up and paint it!

 And, of course, I couldn't let dad get away without fixing something! Our outside faucet wouldn't turn off until you hit it with a hammer.  Dad had it fixed in less than 15minutes!  He's the man! (with an audience!ha!)

 A great family day!  We need more like them!!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Champion by Marie Lu

5

This is the third and final book in the Legend trilogy.  It's a great dystopia society trilogy, but I was VERY disappointed in that the author knew her target audience was young adult and still included them having "relations" (I'm on a work computer and can't type the s word - ha).  There are 3 pages I would like to tear out of this book simply because I have some 5th graders who would LOVE this series, but now I can't recommend it to them.  Makes me sad.  FYI, if you are a parent who monitors what your child reads, it doesn't just beat around the bush, it gives flat out details down to them knocking over a vase on the table in their "passion".  Ewww...I don't want to read about teenagers doing all that.  Save it for an adult novel.  Just my opinion!!  Great series, but I wouldn't recommend to young adult unless much, much older.

Summary from goodreads.com:

He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?


June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Builder Big Bear

 I saw a few tables on Pinterest made from old barn wood scraps and Big Bear has been wanting to use his miter saw again...so I snagged a few boards from my parents barn and everyone was happy! :)
 I showed Big Bear two pictures from Pinterest and we basically combined the two ideas to make what we wanted.  Now, I am a visual person, not a measurement person.  So...he was pretty much 90% done (see picture below) and I decided it was too tall, needed to be longer, and I wanted a wider board on top. :)
 I made a quick after school trip to Beebe for more barn wood and soon we had a winner!
 I have to say, I am pretty impressed!!  I love it!! We use the bottom shelf to keep all our boots on and Ruby has claimed the middle of the top shelf as her "spot".
 Look at that character!!  You can't buy that in a store!!
 When our new couch comes in, we are building a side table too! But the next project is a brooder box for the baby chicks coming soon!!