Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Reality

I'm still trying to bring myself back to reality after having some time away last week. But lest you think all was perfect, it wasn't. Close - like 95%, but not exactly perfect. But the ocean has a wonderful way of making everything seem like 100%. I'm relaxing just thinking about it...........

Okay, I'm back. We really just had a couple of issues but nothing major. The place where we stay had a full kitchen, which is great as we usually just buy groceries as we normally would and eat all of our meals in the unit. We did eat out one night, but I happen to enjoy eating my meals in my swimsuit or shorts and a t-shirt with no makeup on when I'm on vacation, so I'm glad we didn't go out every night. The only problem was that only two burners on the stove worked. The good thing is we never needed more than two burners at a time, so it was really a non-issue. Not sure why I mentioned it.

The other issue was a little bigger. One night after we had all settled down in our pj's and were resting comfortably in the living room and watching some TV, Brad got up to go to the kitchen. Just as he got near the carpet close to the kitchen, he was about to get on to someone for spilling a drink and not cleaning it up. But before it came out of his mouth, I heard a small splash, and Brad saying, "Oh, no - grab some towels, quick!" I did, but we obviously did not have enough towels for this mess! The washing machine was having some issues, and water was coming out everywhere. It was in the kitchen and running into the bathroom and seeping into the surrounding carpets as well. I called the front desk and told them the situation and within minutes two guys from maintenance arrived with a wet vac and promptly went to work. The fill valve on the washer was broken, and since it was "too old to fix," we had a new washer and dryer the next day. It actually turned out to be a good thing as this was a bigger washer and dryer and the dryer was a higher voltage, so it did its job much quicker than the older on.

At the time, I felt a bit like Brad's 86-year-old Great Aunt Marie. She has lived in a high-rise apartment complex for most of her life in Houston, Texas. She used to say whenever she had any problems in her apartment, she would just pick up the phone and say "hello maintenance!"

Sometimes it would be nice to just pick up the phone and say "hello maintenance!" whenever the ice maker isn't working, the dishwasher springs a leak, a pipe bursts, etc., etc., but that's the nature of being a homeowner. I just pick up the phone (if it's during the day) and say, "Hello, Brad!" LOL Well, sometimes there are things I can fix on my own, but having a wonderful husband around to do what I can't is far greater than having on-site maintenance.

And thankfully those maintenance issues did not come close to ruining our vacation - just little things that added to the memories. :>)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Seasons

I have come to truly appreciate the way that God has created the seasons. Each one serves such a wonderful purpose, and I want to enjoy every facet that each has to offer.

The summer time is a very busy time of working and playing. Working - lawn maintenance, gardening, tending to flowers - and some housework on rainy days :>). Playing - lots of swimming and fun with friends, playing in the dirt/sand, swinging the (little) kiddos until they doze off for an afternoon nap, baseball games, lots of weekend softball tournaments, cookouts, free movies and cheap popcorn, and the list goes on and on. Like I said, very busy.

Then comes fall ~ my favorite time of the year ~ it's time to start winding down but not yet completely. There's canning/freezing of the vegetables and fruits (hopefully! if the garden did well) and time to start back to school, which becomes the priority. Tidying up of the yards and stowing away of the summer toys is on the to-do list. Softball is over, and it's time to start thinking about basketball. It's also time to catch up on the housework that may have gotten neglected during the busy summer. It's time to start thinking about fall parties and looking forward to the Thanksgiving holiday. Love it!

And then there's winter, which I look at as a time of rest - (except for basketball season). The other seasons have brought lots of activity, but winter is the time I get to come inside and hibernate with my family for a few months. There's the fun stuff like decorating for Christmas, shopping, and parties to attend. And then the months following are a time to wait quietly for spring to arrive.

And thankfully it always does. We're usually feeling a little stir crazy and at the first sign of warm weather we're out and about at the playground, walking around the neighborhood, headed to softball practice, making plans for a garden, enjoying the beauty of all the greenness of the trees and grass and the budding and blooming of the flowers, and getting ready to plant new flowers. There's the finishing up of school and the heavy duty spring cleaning. Getting ready for vacation as we celebrated the end of our school year was a treat for this spring. And then there's the excitement of the anticipation of all that summer is going to bring ~ and the cycle continues.

As long as God blesses me with good health and the ability, I want to be like the ant in Proverbs 6:6-11:

Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, [And] gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep-- So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.

There is always something to do, to enjoy, and someone to love while doing it. I want to use my seasons wisely and accomplish all that I can according to God's plan for my life. Speaking of my life....

Not only has God given us seasons in each year, but He's also blessed us with seasons in life. Even more so, I want to use those seasons wisely. Just as the yearly seasons go by so fast, my life seasons are speeding by just as fast. We just returned from vacation, and I carried that thought a lot this week.

It seems like Madison was just turning 1, and it was just me, Brad, and her on vacation. Now all of the sudden there are three more, and she is 14. I realized how the time for my family-of-six vacations is ticking away, and I didn't want to take that for granted. I don't think I did. We had a very relaxing vacation and did not do very much. We spent a lot of time at the beach and by the pools and just enjoyed some much needed down time as a family. Our lives at home are extremely busy - if you could see all that has been accomplished since we arrived home at 4 p.m. yesterday, you would understand - so we didn't want our vacation to be. It was a refreshing time and hopefully I have some new motivation to do what needs to be done around here. I had blogged recently about doing a thorough "cleaning out" of the house, which I did. But I've suffered tremendously from burnout ever since and haven't wanted to do much "cleaning up." I think I've recovered now. :>)

Anyway, I know there are more seasons in life to come - that like the yearly seasons will be needed and will bring their own blessings, etc. - but for now, I am content to enjoy and "remain" in this one.

Here's a few pictures from our trip to Myrtle Beach. It rained on Monday, but the rest of the week was lovely, just lovely.....(Thank you, Heavenly Father, for such a wonderful, safe week - for Your provision and loving kindness that you showered upon us. Amen.)









Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's Saturday!

I have lots of cleaning, packing, etc. to do today as we'll be heading to the beach soon, but I wanted to give an update on Terri. She is doing so much better! I visited with her yesterday evening, and I saw her respond in a typical "Terri" way to one of my other friends when she walked into the room. She opened her eyes wide and gave a great smile. It was awesome to see. Please continue to pray!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Bittersweet Mother's Day

This was a different Mother's Day and different weekend altogether. In my heart, on Sunday I was made well aware once again of my thankfulness and love of being a mother. God has blessed me in a wonderful way with these precious children, each so incredibly unique. Cari - always the thoughtful child - blessed me with a homemade card and fresh flowers she had picked from my garden.



After church, we had lunch at my mom and dad's, and I was very grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate this day once again with my mom. She's a wonderful mother, that's for sure!

But thoughts of my dear friend, Terri, prevented me from enjoying this day as I normally would. If you've read my blog for a while, you've heard about Terri at some point. The "girls" always have Christmas at Terri's house. As Bonnie put in on Saturday evening as we were standing outside the hospital, "She's the glue that holds our friendship together. We need Terri."

On Saturday evening, Terri suffered a large stroke, and she is currently on a ventilator and in critical condition. I saw her last on Sunday, and it is so hard to see her like that. Terri has always been more full of life than any person I've ever met. I didn't get to go see her yesterday, but there have been a few positive changes, and we're just holding on to those right now and praying every time she comes to mind, which is very often. If you're reading this, please pray for her as you're reminded. Pray for her mother, too. Terri's mom is in bad health, and you may also remember me blogging about going to Terri's brother's funeral about two months ago. This family has been through so much in the past year. A miracle would be wonderful right now.


Terri and Anslea, Christmas 2009

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Doing Good

I could say things are slowing down enough to give me some "blogging time" but that really wouldn't be true. I'm giving myself 10 minutes to blog right now, so whatever comes out in that time period will have to suffice. I've had some things on my mind and wanted to get them out before they are "gone with the wind." That happens pretty quickly sometimes, so I have to be careful....

Proverbs 3:27 has been swimming through my brain a LOT here lately.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do [so].

But along with that verse, in order to "do good" in some situations, God has been having to work on me in regards to facing some fears in my life - things that don't generally come easy.

I'll share more next time.