Monday, March 20, 2017

Winner selected Sarah H. is the winner of our Laura Story CD giveaway. Enjoy Open Hands, Sarah. Please check you facebook PM within 48 hours. :)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

When Others Remember My Babies

Tee, thank you for remembering our babies in Heaven and honoring them today!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Planning My Funeral

This is not a morbid post. Promise! In fact, stay tuned for a fun giveaway.

No, I have no particular timeframe in mind, no imminent expectation of needing to implement my funeral plans. This is simply a topic I've pondered ever since nearly dying almost 5 1/2 years ago and long-outliving the wildest possible expectations of maybe 3 or 4 years, as the long, most ludicrous possible outcome.

I would argue that funeral planning is a topic all of us might do well to consider. Life is 100% fatal, after all. There's a good chance you will have a funeral someday. Wouldn't it be great, as is true of making a will, your own plans and ideas could be honored, your loved ones relieved of the weight of decision-making?

I'm sure I'll add more ideas as I clarify them, but the one list I've been mentally creating for years is one I want to get started today:

For my children, I want the song Give You Faith by Laura Story, from her new album Open Hands, played.

For my husband, Your Hands by J. J. Heller, is my message to leave him. Likely also a Steven Curtis Chapman song, but I haven't decided which one yet. (Suggestions?)

For my grieving friends and family, I want Blessed Be the Name played or sung.

As a congregation, I want several hymns sung. I've jotted down several, so I'll add them as I remember or find my notes, but I'll Fly Away is one for sure.

Also, a hymn that saw me through our miscarriage and infertility years, It is Well With My Soul.

This is just a start, but help me with my list please. What do you want played/sung at your funeral and why? What should I consider adding to my list?

I want to focus for a moment on just one of these artists, Laura Story. Perhaps you know the name from her popular song (another of my favorites) Blessings or Mighty To Save. Something I didn't know about this GRAMMY winner is that she has recently written a new book and bible study curriculum I want to get my hands on, When God Doesn't Fix It: Lessons You Never Wanted To Learn, Truths You Can't Live Without.

If you would like to enter for a chance to win a copy of Laura's brand new CD, Open Hands, please leave a comment answering my above question about what song you would want played at your funeral and why. Be sure to comment with a valid form of contact! I'll draw a winner Monday morning, so please enter soon and share widely. (For each share of this link via your blog, social media, even emailing to friends, leave me another comment in order to gain another entry!)

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

After Infertility Thankfulness

So thankful to be a mom, beyond words! Even after so many years, I vividly remember those childless years where my heart struggled to find thankfulness. Praying for those still waiting, grieving today!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Accidental Tradition

I don't like Halloween. I just don't.

I used to truly loath October 31, and really the whole season, all the "decorations" leading up to the day, the yucky costumes that night, EVERYTHING!

Two things have happened to make the day tolerable for me.

First, we moved to the state of Nevada. October 31, in addition to being Reformation Day (The date Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the church, starting the Protestant movement) is also our state's birthday. Celebrating Nevada Day is significantly more palatable to me than Halloween!

Next, 5 years ago, an encounter with the profound glory of God, honestly made all the ugliness this world can muster for this date, truly make me ask, "Really? Is that the best you've got?" There's simply nothing ugly and evil enough to dampen the splendor of pure grace, goodness, peace, beauty. Honestly, the scary junk, while exactly that in my mind, junk, doesn't even phase me now. (Doesn't mean I like it, delight in it, find it pleasurable, just doesn't freak me out or give me nightmares like it did for nearly 40 years!)

I used to despise this date so very much that we would either turn every light in the front of the house off and just watch a movie or play games in the back and ignore the door, or we would actually pack up the family and go away for the evening, like to my parents' house since no trick-or-treaters even come to their retirement neighborhood.

Since my strokes, it easier to stay home then pack up, so that's what we usually do now. The first few years, my kids and hubby actually answered the door and gave out candy. Last year, I took a candy shift myself. This year, I fully managed the door all evening (though, with hearing loss, I missed the doorbell multiple times, making for some awkward moments as kids stood peering in the window and wondering why I wasn't answering, while I sat staring back waiting for them to play the game by ringing the bell before I opened the door).

Now that I've set the stage, let me tell you about our hysterical evening, the happy accident that created a  new family tradition.

Our daughter and I had just cleaned out the pantry. Since eggs (her) and wheat (me) are newly discovered allergens within the past year, we moved multiple partial Sam's / Costco size cases of various instant noodle meals to the front door so Rick (hubby can still eat them) could take them to work.

There sat all the individual noodle meals by the front door as kids came. About the third set of kids that came was a group of teenagers. As I gave them their candy, I heard, "Oh they have some good food in there. I saw cup noodles!"

On a whim, I called them back to the door and dropped noodles in their bags too. They all were SO excited! I haven't laughed that hard in a good while.

News quickly spread through the neighborhood that our house was "giving away soup," and packs of teens and college kids were showing up. As two girls said to one another, "Now we have dinner for tonight!" The reactions would make you think we were giving away cars or something! The squeals and pure delight left my teenager (pictured above) quite befuddled! He turned to Google and learned that cup-o-noodles as trick-or-treat gifts apparently are "a thing" in Japan. He insists, that even though he's going away to college next fall, we make family plans to give out cup-noodles every year from here on out.

It was a fun night. I would hear teens coming up the walkway saying, "I want soup!" so I would get candy ready just to see their reactions when I pretended that's all I had. I haven't laughed that much at one time in ages! Rick said it was wonderful to hear me laugh so much!

I wore the exact same shirt last year.
I couldn't find my wings this year, but the shirt displays my weight loss over the past year of being wheat-free.
We had food we could never have used before it went bad. We got to spread joy and had a blast doing so. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Blue Playdough

Facebook gave me a good laugh today. Memory from 6 years ago:
Looking up tips on removing Play-dough from carpet. Thought I had it all up and out of reach, but somehow the dark blue canister made it into the craft bin in reach of a craft-loving 4-year-old who didn't think to move over 2 feet onto tile before he began joyfully mashing. Lord, help me to remember how I prayed for this child and what a blessing he is...

In comments I shared, Everything I'm reading says not to add water (ice would do that) because it makes a bigger mess. Working what I can our with a credit card, then let dry overnight, pick more out with a fork or comb, vacuum, repeat, comb, vacuum, repeat, comb, vacuum, repeat... Then spot clean with stain cleaner as needed.

Friday, October 21, 2016

What A Week!

Ooops, this post was written for my StrokeOfGrace blog. I'll post it there too, but will leave it up here as I think this readership will enjoy too.

A friend asked me yesterday how I was doing and I told her I was feeling generally agitated and couldn't figure out why since nothing specifically bad was happen.

This morning, I can put my finger on the reason.

I'm trying not to feel anxious at four days out from my 5th re-birthday (stroke-a-versary), next Tuesday.

Here's where I "should" be today (best case, supposing I had even lived), locked in, not able to lead a "normal" life at all. And here's where I actually am! I am so thankful. I do not take my abilities nor bonus time I've be granted lightly in the least! And yet, there are sobering losses, very real griefs. A day like Tuesday leaves me processing such a wild mix of emotions!

So, I've been intentionally overloading my life with positive distractions, pretty much all to your benefit. Allow me to recap:

Today is the very last day to enter my giveaway for two Adult Coloring 2017 calendars! (As of this posting, there are just over 12 hours left to enter! Two prizes, with only seven folks who have entered so far! Please join the fun. I would love to smile at your answers about what color crayon you would be and why, and you have fantastic odds of winning a prize!)

Tonight, 5 (Pacific), I'm hosting the Facebook portion of my post-stroke Grand Re-Opening celebration Boutique for the Lilla Rose Flexi hair clips I had just signed up as Stylist (consultant) a few months before my strokes.

Since I finally have figured out enough coordination and tricks do my hair again, despite some remaining stroke paralysis and lack of fine motor skills, and because I'm working hard to earn my way to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in the spring, I'm excited to share these beautiful, durable (made of music / piano wire, so highly flexible, yet incredibly strong), ingenious (unique figure-8 design) "hair jewelry" available in seven different sizes and hundreds of designs to fit every length (if you have at least two inches of hair, you can wear a Flexi, even some fun designs like motorcycles that I've seen men wear in their beards!), hair texture (baby fine, pin straight, thick curls, floor length, dreadlocks. pixie cut, any everything in between), and personal style (from simple and practical to frilly and flamboyant)!

Tomorrow, at 4PM, please come to my house (need directions?) for the hands-on portion of my party! It will be my very first in-person Boutique and I'm pretty excited to gather some friends together to celebrate five years of stroke survival and the accomplishments these years have brought about. Playing with Flexis will be fun too! :) If you can't make it to my house due to distance or schedule, you are still welcome to join the Lilla Rose portion of the party on my website. You can order hair pretties for yourself or as gifts (holidays are quickly coming!) any time, but to count towards my grand-opening celebration (where it will make the most positive impact for me in sales numbers), all orders must be in before the end of the day Tuesday the 25th.

Tomorrow morning, before my Lilla Rose event, I get to spend a few hours with my church sisters at a get-to-know-you brunch. Being the social butterfly, people-person, that I am, even though I know this will cost me in terms of physical and mental energy (thank you, stroke and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), I know it will this time together will bless and encourage me emotionally and spiritually!

On Tuesday, my actual stroke anniversary, I'm scheduled to participate in a research study at Renown, the hospital where I lived for the first two months. I told the study coordinator I had scheduled for that date because I wanted to "do something significant" that day.

Oct. 25th, my re-birthday, is much more significant to me that the actual date of my birth each year, now! I hope to see some of my care team. Mom and I plan to go out to lunch afterwards. I've asked my hubby to take our family out to dinner that evening.

My brain doesn't really even go beyond next Tuesday yet. Starting my 6th year of survival?!

Mailbox surprise from Kendra. :)
I have no new blog post ideas after Tuesday. Do you have any questions? Anything you've wondered about? Feel free to ask! I need your curiosity right now, to spark future blog content!


New American Standard Bible 
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. -Psalm 94:19