Monday, May 29, 2023

Perseverance #2

 I am rested and hopefully have some time to do some neglected items this summer such as this blog. I deleted my previous post which was to notify my special friends that Lindsay's surgery had been canceled. What are the chances of strep throat 4 days before a surgery that you have waited almost 19 months for? Challenges! I was so nutty, that I misspelled perseverance in the title. Oh dear, the school teacher in me shuddered when I noticed and the old me would have instantly changed it, but I am learning perfection doesn't work, so I left it until I had time to really write a post. We are always a work in progress.

Jeff and I slipped away to Auburn for Memorial Day weekend. It was empty of students and we spent a VERY QUIET Saturday and Sunday up there. I know that we both needed it and it was just what the doctor ordered for us. We ate at 2 of our favorite places with no waits and did some yard work and strolled through the antique store. Other than that we sat outside, watched some TV, read and just rested. 

We haven't been to Auburn since New Year's, so we arrived to realize the sweet jasmine on the wrought iron fence that provides a little isolation to our side yard porches had take a beating from the deep freeze. We pulled it all off the fence, but think it will live to grow again at the ground, so we will wait and see before we do anything else. We freshened the pine straw and called that a day.

It looks a little bare with the jasmine gone, but I still enjoyed my porch sitting outside under the oaks. By the way, it was chilly up there. I wore pants both days all day. 
While here, I would say May has been the most wonderful of spring days. 

Here is the view of our Auburn house from mine and Gus's walk around the neighborhood. 

And here it is out front.

I freshened up the pot on the porch. Of course, if we lived there all the time, it would need some red geraniums and some real ferns.

We also drove out to the cabin that we owned prior to this home at Lake Martin. You may remember that a friend I grew up with in Brewton bought it from us. Their children mostly live up that way and they wanted to have a place to be with their kids. We saw that they were there so I called them and we got to see the old place. I am so glad that they were able to purchase it and they have really cleared it up around it which we always knew we would like to do, but didn't get it done. They are a wee bit older than us and are able to go up way more than we ever could, so I know they love it with their grandchildren.

We loved that cabin and had so many good times there. I have a label on my sidebar for the cabin. We purchased it in 2006 and have a long story about how that came to be, but towards the end of our time there it just became known to us that we wanted to be in Auburn. We called the cabin "Serenity" because the family property that had been sold that gave us the money to buy it had been on Serenity Lane. I always prayed that anyone who visited or stayed there would feel peace when they drove up to it. I think God answered that with a "yes" in spades.

My mother and I used to go the first week of June every year as soon as school was out for me to decompress. We have good memories there. In May of 2013, life began to change. She fell and broke her femur and she had just gotten back on her feet to go mid July that year. As early as March that year, I noticed my stepdad had a lack of energy and just chalked it up to getting older, but while she was down with her leg I really noticed it. When we left for the cabin on July 14th, 2013, I knew deep down that something was wrong. I got up there that evening and did all the cleaning that I would do at that time. The next morning at 6:00 we got that "change" phone call. We would rush home and over the next few days find out that he had cancer that was too far gone to help. We began palliative chemo which would give him 10 months. During the course of that 10 months, I planned a wedding for my daughter, drove back and forth the hour and a half every weekend to my folks' home and mixed that in with midweek trips to Pensacola for the chemo treatments. I spent many hours on the road in the little triangle of Fort Walton Beach to Brewton to Pensacola to Fort Walton Beach in tears and praying. 

I tell you all this to let you know that real life happens to us all. It may seem like all is rosy with some, but you never know they have a lot going on as well.

I came out tired and depleted, but it set me on a health journey and for that I am thankful. 

So, when I show you pictures of the Auburn house and all its goodness, don't think all of life is perfect here.

Here is a picture of the comfy cozy living room that brings rest to me.

This month has been very pretty here in Fort Walton Beach. We are getting a new seawall. It is almost finished. They should finish tomorrow. I will share the views. 

Standing out on the dock here is the left side of the new seawall.

It is higher than the old one which means......

that there is going to have to be fill dirt brought in. That is going to be hard work.

I am looking forward to summer. Katie is a schoolteacher so that means I won't be keeping Miles for the summer. Now, I know I will some of the boys or all of them on certain days, but I should get some free time. I hope to do some special things for Mama and for myself. 

I have an ambitious list of summer things to do, but I am going to prioritize some quiet time on the deck mornings and evenings and some beach walks. I am going to read and rest between those summer chores. I know that I have to slow down. 

I have even realized I can't do all that I do at church and for the first time in ages I am not going to be teaching littles. Jeff and I lead a small group on Wednesday evenings and will keep our role in a thing called Starting Point. For the last 2 years we have been trying to train some younger ones to help us and think that we might have that done so that we only have to lead that once a year. It is a 8 week course for those that have questions about faith. Stepping down from the littles was hard for me, but I felt at peace about it afterwards so I know it is the right thing. I think my role is to mentor the younger leaders and not do so much of the energy draining things. I am getting there. 

I have been pretty drained as of late, so it is time to change course. 

Lindsay's surgery has been rescheduled for June 20th. She also got a bit of bad news from one her best college friends. Taylor has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She went in January thinking something was not quite right but it was dismissed as a cyst. Then her daughter that is the same age as Tucker began to have seizures. The little girl is doing better. Taylor and Drew had decided to move back closer to home from Huntsville to south of Montgomery. She still didn't feel right so before they moved back to the country she went to the doctor once more. She faces 22 weeks of chemo before a full mastectomy can even be done. They were to move on the May 31st. Drew has asked us to pray for returning to old jobs and getting all the insurance kinks worked out. I am boldly praying even further that that....

I am praying that Taylor will respond to the chemo in record time and that she can have surgery after 11 chemo. I am praying boldly that all it would be half the scheduled time. 

That puts things into perspective very quickly.

Life is a gift not to be taken lightly. 

I am ready for my summer and will count e.v.e.r.y single blessing along the way.

I will leave you on a positive note. Look at this thing of beauty. I put the last stitches in on Saturday night.

I will turn it into a pillow over the summer. 

I hope to check in with all of you over this week.
Let's get summer started, 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Choose Steadiness


Doesn't this picture look so peaceful? It was taken this past Friday morning early. I am not an early bird, but if it is the o-n-l-y way to get a moment, I can be persuaded to get on up.

Last week had been a non restful week after keeping the boys for the long weekend.  I had just poured myself a cup of coffee and had hoped to have a little moment to myself.

After the weekend mentioned in my last post, Lindsay's boys had gotten sick and run a fever which means, no daycare. She stayed home with them through that, but Palmer had to come here for one additional day of catching up on his rest. Mother was right on course for a downfall in her health. Why - you ask?

Well, if I have a regularly scheduled doctor's appointment for her, you can bank on her starting to decline in some way 2 weeks before said appointment. "Said appointment" is for tomorrow. She began to complain that her hip was hurting about 2 weeks ago. She was not too happy any day last week and called early each day to let me know how bad the night before had been.

Last Thursday morning, she called at 5:30 AM saying she couldn't wait to see a doctor, so I got her to the immediate care facility where they determined it was her sciatic nerve. Prescriptions were called in that I fretted over and did cut in half. I won't say much more about this situation other than when Mama gets down, she gets down. I am ever increasing the amount of time spent on her which is what we must do as we age. It is what it is. 

The picture above was interrupted before I got my first sip of coffee. I had just taken it thinking ---"Oh, this will make good blog talk." HAHA 

The above moment was interrupted by me having to go right over to Mama's house.

NUFF said.. we will move on from this topic.

We will get to the choice of the title of this post. Choose Steadiness is the chapter title in a book we are using for our church small group.  Sometimes at our age it isn't always easy to find something that interests us all, but occasionally we find a hit book. Uncommon Influence by Tony and Lauren Dungy has been that. My husband is the master of leading book discussions and drawing all of our conversations back to our Lord. He is quite gifted. Anyway, this week's chapter was called "Pick Your Battles: Choose Steadiness." I had finished reading and had been convicted about several things in it. I found myself mulling it over all day yesterday. One small heading in the chapter was called "Receive Reality as It Arrives.

Let me just say, I am about over receiving reality as it arrives --------peacefully anyway!

I just want to send some of life's interruptions straight back out the door with a good swift kick in the seat of reality's pants.

To say that 2023 has been anything but chaotic is an understatement, but I think it is just our turn to go through these trials and I must indeed choose steadiness.

With that said, I won't linger on too many of them because most of them are just truly life's interruptions and meant to keep you frustrated and down, but are NOT really bad stuff. I have known bad stuff. This is just stuff that needs to be dealt with.

Here is one that you will find interesting. 

Yesterday, Wednesday was our scheduled small group meeting to discuss that chapter. We usually grab a quick bite to eat out on Wednesday nights. We had driven down close to the bridge to eat which turned out to be quite helpful. You see, Little Palmer locked himself in the bedroom with Lindsay's phone. Tyler is out of town. You might ask how did the little guy lock himself in a bedroom. Well, the previous owners had an outdoor lock on the master bedroom and Lindsay had never had a key. Yes, they should have changed that door knob long ago, but hadn't. Lindsay had been in there packing (I will tell you about that in a minute). She and Tucker walked out leaving phone, dog and Palmer in the bedroom. He closed it and it was locked. Luckily, she remembered she had some kind of thing that the in-laws gave them that they use to talk on each night that operated through Facebook Messenger. Of note, I haven't had a FB account for very long. I received a bit of frantic video call from her about what to do. She had been trying to open it with a credit card. Fortunately, Jeff and I were almost at the bridge heading to Destin so we started her way. I texted the group we would be canceling for a non life-threatening emergency. 

Turned out, Jeff had to break the doorknob with a hammer and Little Palmer was happy to be out. He only wanted Mama for a bit after that. A dear friend of Lindsay's arrived with pizza and fruit for supper. All worked out and thankfully, we closer by being down by the bridge to get to them.

Lately, each day seems to be a day of trying to navigate the chaos, but dog gone it I will persevere with the Lord's help. 

Moving on to other topics and to turn this post around...

May has been a pretty month around here. The flowers, the sunshine, the wonderful temperatures that some might call too warm, but just my cup of tea have made the chaos a little more tolerable.

Not shown in these flowers is the magnolia which has had a banner season this year.

Flowers are just another reminder that God is here even thought the world seems absolutely mad these days. I go out each day to just walk around and soak up the beauty.

I have been reading too. I read a book about the Korean War and then watched a show about it. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the show since I am an amateur history buff.

I have been stitching.

I did complete my May ornament for my SAL. 

Above is the backing fabric. This again is from the book called The Magic of Christmas. Believe it or not, I saw one on Amazon last week for $20, not the usual $400. If I had mind at that moment, I would have sent out a shout to all. I doubt it is still there.

I also have worked on my sunflowers. This is my current progress.

I would be much farther along on this if I had not had to rip out a pretty big portion. Pooh and double pooh. It occurred because I can't see anymore. I will share that story in a later post, since this one is getting long and I have a prayer request.

Yes, there was Mother's Day and I am getting too tired to write much more:)

Oh and our house insurance went up $4,500 - soooo you can imagine it is high. Help me, Lord!

That is not my prayer request!

Lindsay is having surgery next Tuesday in Atlanta. If you will please keep her in your prayers for safety and a successful surgery, I would much appreciate. I need all my prayer warriors on this. Tuesday morning- 9:45. For those of you have followed for a long time, this is to alleviate the problem caused by Palmer's birth almost 2 years ago. It has been a long wait, but hopefully Tuesday will arrive and be a good thing. 

That is all I have and I am sure you are tired of hearing me moan. I am truly ok, but I do feel like I could kick some of the realities of life right to the curb.

Choosing the steadfast love of Christ to guide me,

Monday, May 8, 2023

Fun and Tired Go Together...Right?

 I am so tired. I mean really tired. A good tired ---because I was helpful.

You see, Lindsay and Tyler gave themselves a Christmas present of tickets to a concert and the plan was to couple it with a trip to see Tyler's twin brother in May. Little did they know their start to the year would make this vacation so needed. Lindsay also has such a stressful job. She makes good money, but I think she knows it is not a job she can keep up for as long as I taught. I think our prayer is that she will do it one more year since Tucker will go to preschool on the way to her job and then look for something closer to home even if  less money and hours when he starts kindergarten. The trip began with them flying out Thursday for south Florida. Jeff picked up the boys and the wildness began Thursday evening. 

LET ME JUST SAY,  I have no idea how she does it. I am absolutely positively sure children are for young people. Then I think about how many grandparents are raising grandchildren. Whew.... I did send them to daycare for Friday because I knew I would not hold up for the entire weekend. They were good, but...

On Thursday night, I fell asleep before Tucker did:) The baby bed is in our master so Palmer slept there. Jeff has been down in his back to add to all of this. He pulled a muscle in the upper back and visited a chiropractor, but later had to go the doctor and get a muscle relaxer and some anti inflammatory medicine. He could only sleep in the recliner. Tucker and I slept in Lindsay's old room. He talks nonstop anyway just like his mama, so I fell asleep before him. The next 2 nights I pretended to be asleep so he would stop talking. I am telling the truth. So many words come out of his mouth.

Friday afternoon, we played out on the dock. A rope dropped in the water can be so much fun. They are building a dock across the way at the new house, so Palmer was mesmerized by all the sights over there.

On Saturday morning, we went to Paul Allen's house to let them run around in their yard and then walked across to the ballpark by his house and played in the park.

Katie was gracious and took over the listening to so many words and swinging Tucker in the hammock

Yes, they chose to come down like that. Palmer has no fear!

Then we all went to Chik Fila for lunch.

Stickers were a huge hit.

Then it was off the Destin park for Tucker's end of the year T-ball party.
That child had so much fun. He ran and played so hard. Palmer was happy to sit in the stroller and watch since all of this was his nap time.

The park is a beautiful waterfront park with lots of native plants and a heron refuge. Couple that with a swimming area, lots of playground stuff and a splash pad it is a wonderful park to go to. It was a little overcast, but that actually kept the temperature to a very pleasant one.

Palmer and I watched all the herons in the trees. There were at least 3 huge heron nests in them.

Tucker was running and playing with friends and really didn't want to stop and take a picture of his trophy for his parents. This was as good as I got.

You may notice that eyesore of a building behind Tucker. If you have visited our area, you may have even stayed there. Just know that I don't know a single local who doesn't hate that eyesore. It is just completely out of place with our beaches.

Sunday brought church. We did get them there on time and more out by the water play.

This time a big stick brought lots of fun.

Palmer and Miles. Palmer was told he could not walk out on the pier. He would go right to the edge and stand and then look back to see if anyone was watching. He minds, but he is a daredevil so he must be watched.

The parents arrived around 2 and Jeff and I were pooped. I took a 2 hour nap which didn't interfere with my nighttime sleep. Jeff was snoozing in the chair too.

I did get up early as usual and head down to check on the plants. Roses are blooming. I didn't cut any this weekend since I was so busy.

Jeff did slip out yesterday afternoon and get me the 4 chairs to go with the old table I painted. The table is almost 40 years old, and it only took one can of paint to paint it. I think I can keep it up and the new chairs look nice with it. That is about all you can keep out in the hot sun and down that close to the water.

The tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are starting to do their thing.

Miles and I made a quick stop at the grocery store this morning where he got his first sticker. 

We are hoping for a quiet day and a few chores, one of which is mopping the kitchen. A milkshake was spilled and a quick clean was all I had time to do, and it has been driving me nuts since it happened.

I think we have had a real spring with April, but the heat is on its way with this week. I am good with that. I will see cool again in November.

I do feel aged this morning, but blessed too.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

The Look of Spring

 Here goes my attempt to keep up with a more regular blogging schedule. HA! I think when I go too much past a weekly post, I get out of the habit of recording life over here. Not a ton of blogging fodder as some call it, but just the regular days. I actually love those regular or ordinary days. 

One morning, I picked up Miles and we rushed to the Armament Museum to look for Billy Bowlegs's treasure. Paul Allen had heard the weekly clue on the radio on his way to work and knew immediately the location of the clue. He should have whipped back around to get it then because we were too late. Now, if I can remember what the clue was. Something like this: an eagle, a falcon, and warthog stand proud lies the coin between a white marker and bush. Those are 3 planes lined up right next to each other at the museum. I knew right where to look, but I guess we were beat to the spot. 

Miles and I got down on the ground and looked under all the benches:) We tried really hard.

I think very soon he is going to need to go in a stroller ride all around the park and meet all those cool planes. 

The search for treasure is all part of the Billy Bowlegs events here in Fort Walton Beach. They moved it up May a couple of years ago rather than in June to keep it a more local event and family friendly. While the weather isn't as warm as June, it is probably a lot easier to keep it under control with just locals rather than all the tourists added in the mix. It is a week long event with many things happening downtown and on the water. 

In my last post, many of you mentioned the shade of my live oaks. They are wonderful for shady walks in my neighborhood in the heat of summer. 
This is us most days strolling with Gus leading the way.

Everything is really pretty right now outside and the mornings are cooler, so it fun times outside. My daylillies are popping now.

I saw this on Instagram the other day. I, of course, loved the sentiment and the vintage look of it.

I don't think I have a green thumb, but just love to try and grow things.

I have been reading a good bit. I have read a couple of Florida books about our area which I have loved. I love to soak up history. I also read a good new release fiction book called Velvet by Heather Strommen. I had said I wasn't going to buy books, but after many months of seeing it advertised on her Instagram page I caved. It was a nice read. It had a faith theme running through it so it was a pleasant surprise. I would show you a picture, but I already passed it to Lindsay.

I have been stitching on the sunflowers. I stopped to start my May ornament which I will share later in the month. I think the sunflowers are going to make a lovely pillow.

I am just loving spring days, puttering around the house, and just doing the regular routine. Nothing earth shattering going on and that is good. Now that spring is here I want the days to slow down. No rushing.

Here is a cute photo of Miles and Mama. We went to the grocery store to do her shopping. Miles loves to go to the grocery store, so that makes it a bit easier to do that for her.

He is now 9 months old. 

Tucker and Palmer are coming to spend the night on Friday night. Mom and Dad are going on an overnight trip which I think is much needed. Jeff and I are looking forward to the two boys spending the night with us. 

That is about it here in my world. I try to keep my eyes off of the news and on my little blessings around me. It is the way to stay sane in these days.