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Normalcy

Normalcy may never return. Life was crazy before but the insanity that comes from children becoming adults, having a big family, owning a business that is scraping by, a marriage that isn’t picture-perfect* compounded with health issues is oppressive. I’m sure my perspective would be greatly improved if I weren’t neglecting my spiritual walk a.k.a. my relationship with Jesus. I would love to blame my lack of blogging on the fact that, yet another, of my computers crashed a few months ago and is irreparable, BUT God saw fit to provide us with another laptop (a later post of God’s provision) so I’m gonna have to come clean and say I’ve been procrastinating. I’ve literally been waiting until we get our act together and I can see light at the end of the tunnel. (I’ve also been waiting on spare time…a laughable prospect). Yea, so, that’s not any time soon and the “holy nudges” to “get back to it” have increased in their nagginess so here I am.

“I don’t know where to begin” is a phrase folks use when attempting to introduce the start of a tale. Well, my blogging tale began long ago in 2003 on Homeschool Blogger (my earlier posts are long gone) so I’m just going to say “I don’t know where to middle.” We have been on a ridiculous roller coaster ride that sometimes seems to spiral endlessly downward then swoops up a steep incline then plateaus barely long enough for us to catch our breath. I’m not sure I will try to “catch up” here but I know our family enjoys many adventures, experiences trials a.k.a. “growth opportunities,” playing in the kitchen conjuring up scrumptious recipes and edible works of art, has great taste in music, has a house in such a state that I will have DIY and organization projects to provide an endless supply of post material and does too many weird things to not share. In other words, whether I post retroactively or not, my life is way too entertaining and educational to not write about; the good, the bad and the ugly, it makes life…interesting.

SO…if you’re still there, I’m still here. I’ve posted several times about not posting so at least that’s consistent. I will try to do better and provide some variety. I really do have a ton of recipes to share so once I find a recipe plug-in I’m happy with, I will get right on that.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

*(I’ll expound on that later but no worries, we are not going separate ways – we’re just flawed people still learning to live with each others’ flaws…and if that doesn’t work, we’ve made a bargain to kill each other because that’s easier on the kids to deal with than divorce).

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How To Not Blog

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If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably forgotten that you were doing so as I haven’t posted in eons. I have come close to giving up many times and just deactivate the account. BUT, there is something very motivational about investing dough in having my own domain. Also…I REALLY love to write.  However, being an inactive blogger, I can now offer my expertise on how to overcome the need to write and, maybe, even lose interest in writing:

  1. Never read any other blogs. There are so many gifted bloggers out there, you may receive encouragement or inspiration to write from them so, whatever you do, don’t read other blogs.
  2. Don’t read books. Duh. For the same reason listed above. Readers are leaders and leaders tend to WRITE STUFF DOWN! Spare yourself. The solution for the temptation to read is to keep a to-do list so huge that you’re constantly exhausted and fall asleep every time you start to read…anything. I’ve made a habit of this and it really works!
  3. Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT read the Bible. Being that it changes you, convicts you and confounds you, it will compel you to write stuff that may benefit others…or just really annoy others which will also a boost your enjoyment of blogging.
  4. Avoid contact with your children and do your best to not enjoy their company. Especially if they have changed your life for the better, are beautiful people, are geniuses, are adorable, and/or are hilarious.
  5. Do not become a foodie. The thing about foodies is that they not only enjoy food but they enjoy the effect food has on everyone else. That is why they have this compulsion to take 23 photos with commentary of the one recipe they have to share with the world because they know that the world will not be the same until at least 28% of the world’s population have tried, what they know is, the best recipe for Macaroni and Cheese.
  6. Write off writing. This is a problem if you homeschool or teach writing in any capacity because there is something contagious about writing assignments. Just reading a kid’s book report can cause an irritating itch to write something. Writing a thank you card or even a tweet has been known to trigger an irrational urge to write more. Sometimes, 140 characters are not enough. Writing anything is like practice and practice makes…well, you know. And whatever you do, DON’T read about writing! You’ll just be shooting yourself in the foot.
  7. Don’t make memories with family or friends. They are precious and you’ll want to preserve them by keeping photos and journaling.  Celebrating any type of birthday or holiday would fall under this category. 
  8. Turn off the radio and get rid of your I-pod. I call music “the rhythm of the soul.” It touches places within us in a way nothing else can. Of course, that would be counter-productive for one trying to shake the addiction to writing as listening to music will bring to light things from within that will move you and move others should you feel constrained to write about the things that move you. Music has access to our love, anger, sadness, joy, dance, courage, fear, betrayals, loyalties and worship that absolutely nothing else has. You know what else happens if you listen to music? You develop favoritism for types of music and the artists that God has endowed with this aggravating gift then you attend a concert or two which creates and appetite for more and a devotion and desire to show your support and an unexplainable need to take way too many photos at said concerts then you find out other fans (as well as the artists) love concert and gathering pics so you feel obligated to get them posted so others can enjoy them and, well, you can see how this can be a problem.
  9. Don’t own a business. Being a business owner just offers way too much material for writing. You meet so many interesting and amazing people, you have a plethora of problems, and have way too many adventures. You don’t need this in your life if you’re trying to stop writing.
  10. Don’t be clever. Creative people come up with all kinds of DIY projects, home improvements ideas, organization tips, etc. It’s really hard to not share ideas that someone else could use. You take a pic of some brainchild you come up with, the next thing you know, you’re posting it on Facebook and someone asks how you made it which encourages a how-to blog post and the next thing you know, it’s all over Pinterest which makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and you are encouraged to post again. Subdue the urge to be artsy fartsy. There are plenty of other people out there with…shudder..ideas.
  11. Lose the camera. Just don’t get into photography. I’ve already addressed this in other areas but you’ve seen the blogs and websites. People who take pictures can’t just leave them there on the memory card. What’s not shared is lost, remember? So just stop taking pictures. Nuff said.
  12. I mentioned being tired before but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being overcommitted and exhausted. It helps if you don’t have a regular routine that includes time to write. If you simply hope that when you sit down at the end of the day, you can jot down a few words to post before your eyes clamp shut, then you have a great formula for successful avoidance of blogging.
  13. Procrastinate. This is THE sure-fire method for making sure writing doesn’t happen. It’s self-explanatory. Acquire this skill if you lack it.

I have some of the items on this list down-pat. I have too much to do; my to-do list is never done. I get up early and stay up late. I’m always tired. Oh, and I DO have the spiritual gift of procrastination.  I know there are things I need to change so I can stop writing; I need to sell the business but that event alone, should it occur, would still provide writing fodder. We should have never started it in the first place. It’s made life way too interesting. I either need to put the kids up for adoption or hunker down for the years to come but, darn it, I have grandkids. Maybe I should just become a hermit. But then boredom might be a issue. Bored people look for something to do and the mind might wander to then thought may occur that I could write about where my mind wandered.  Then there’s the food…darn it, I love food. I love cooking food and eating food.

I’m in such a quandary! This writing thing is a pesky problem.  Any suggestions are appreciated. This time-consuming addiction has got to stop.

My name is Michelle and I haven’t blogged since…. October 16, 2013.

This one doesn’t count, right?

Pictures are worth thousands and thousands of words

After receiving the news that my 2-Terabyte External hard drive with all of my photos since 2004 is toast, I find myself looking for a back-up plan for any and all photos I’m able to scrounge to save somewhere. I *had* backed up my photos on the Creative Memories Digital Center site. Creative Memories rewarded their loyal customers, some of whom had been with CM since it was Shoebox to Showcase over 20 years ago (ahem, I for one), by claiming bankruptcy (again) and giving us precious little time to purchase any needed supplies for finishing projects (I’m broke so a moot point) and precious little time to salvage any photos or finished digital albums saved on the site. From what I could tell when I did check the site this summer to see if my photos were still there, my only option for saving my photos was purchasing photo CDs. Again, broke. No option to download my own photos and albums for safe-keeping? Thanks a lot CM. The way I understand it, they are “reorganizing” and have “great things in store.” Newsflash Creative Memories, your consultants and loyal customers are ticked off. Good luck with that.

Anyhoo, enough of me venting. The finality of pictures of births of my precious babies, vacations, cute candids, birthday parties, zoo trips, road trips, homeschool field trips, crafts, messes, cooking together, lego constructions, Christmas, concerts, starting our business, foodie pics, friends, family gatherings, et al. being gone forever provided for a restless sleep as I quietly cried myself to sleep Monday night (okay, I whimpered a little). I keep telling myself this world is not my home but I am sentimental and I’ve seen my kids pour over the scrapbooks I have completed. It’s a huge way to pass on the story and the love. I am the curator of the museum of memories and I have failed.

Creative Memories did drive home several points that I did take to heart and need to put back into practice:

  1. Print your pictures. Even if you can’t get to scrapbooking them, print them before you can’t. I took this more seriously when I used film and became lax when I went to digital. I either need to get those digital scrapbooks done or get those photos printed. Backing up isn’t enough. I backed up my back ups and my pics are still gone (did I mention one laptop crashing and then next one being reset to factory settings? I didn’t think so.)
  2. Back up. Nuff said.
  3. Journal. We all have a story to tell and no one else can tell it. Pictures in an album aren’t enough. Example #1: I have a photo of my great, great, great grandmother in one of those old, pretty but deteriorated albums. She was a Cherokee who walked the Trail of Tears, married a white man and here I am. All I have is a photo, which is awesome but I’d give anything to know her story. I wish someone had written it down. The hard times in which she lived and how she overcame would be a story of bullying this culture can’t appreciate. She had to have been a strong woman. I just wish I knew the tale so I could pass it on. Example #2: I have another old scrapbook that I believe my grandmother made. She did some pretty creative stuff, cutting photos into shapes, arranging some on one page into a star shape, but rather than journal who’s in the photos and what’s going on, she cut quotes and captions from magazines and pasted them under the photos. I look at it and get so frustrated because I don’t know why the pictures were taken, who’s in them, what’s going on. SO many cool pics, and I can tell who my dad is and his siblings and parents, but that’s about it.
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    No…no I cannot identify these. The irony of this page’s title confounds me…Such cool photos, though!

     

Back to backing up, I’m now reviewing all of the reviews for best photo storing/sharing sites and I will come to my own conclusions and get back to you. If anyone out there has a favorite, let me know! In the meantime, learn from my mistake. Back up your backed up back ups.

What’s not shared (and thank you, God, that I have shared photos on Facebook and my blog) is lost, lost, lost… 😦

Michelle

Music Monday – When Tragedy Strikes…

Yesterday, I heard the news about the church bus that overturned in Indy and the lives that were lost in the accident. The grief must be unbearable. I don’t even know these people but as I prayed for the family and friends of the young, expectant couple who died leaving a toddler an orphan and the mom of 5, I cried. There are so few words that can be said. When my brother died at 16 from a gun accident, many words were said with good intentions but made it more painful none-the-less. The words that did get me through, though, were from those that were honest and told me that they don’t understand, either, it won’t make sense to us but God loves me and is there for me. So I went to Him over and over again. He doesn’t mind when we raise our fist and ask Him, “Why?” David did it. He was called a “man after God’s own heart” and God, while He called David out on a lot of stuff, didn’t rebuke him for expressing his fear, anger and sadness to God. When Scott died, I went back to college and the friends who knew what to say said very little. They held me, let me cry and told me to give it to God because He’s the only One Who knows what to do with it.

My Isabelle was admitted to the hospital at 4 weeks old the day Katrina hit. Having nothing else to do in a hospital room with an infant, I watched the news in horror. We were there 5 days as I watched my baby girl struggling to get and keep nutrition in her then turned to the TV screen to see people lose loved ones and suffer. It was then my favorite band decided to release early the following single from Wherever You Are to be an encouragement, to direct people to World Vision for donations and as a benefit for relief efforts. There has been so much tragedy in our nation and world. Catastrophe hits everyone at some point and the disasters and calamity will only increase as the world descends more and more into decadence and greed. Scripture tells us this. So what to say when friends and family are hit? Cry out to Jesus. For the families hurting so close to home in Indy, that’s all I have. I am so sorry.

This song is one of many Third Day songs that has blessed me and helped me through tough times. So many have been heartened by this. If you haven’t heard it before, I hope it blesses you. If you have, I hope it blesses you again.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Chocolate-Covered Fun

I just said last night I wouldn’t do this again. But here I am, blogging from my phone. I will try to pay better attention to what auto-correct may decide for me.
Today started early; 5 am. Ugh. I had my follow-up appointment for my MRI and, thank You Lord, I don’t need surgery. I have a very bruised bone in my foot that was almost a stress fracture. In fact,  I was instructed to treat it as such and stay off of it for two to three more weeks. The doc and I both laughed then I promptly went to the grocery for cake supplies then to the dry cleaner then to our catering kitchen where I met up with Natalie, Autumn and Isabelle. Autumn requested we stop at Dollar Tree on the way home to get glow sticks for July 4th which we did after stopping by the Health Department. As you can see, I’m really babying this injured foot…
We came home to find Corinne and Gbaby #1, Autumn Rose,  had arrived to spend the rest of the week with us! Yay! After a visit, I rested my foot more by heading out with Craig to meet up with Lenae and Tony for a double date. My Mother’s Day gift of a chocolate and wine tasting WITH gift card at Winan’s Fine Chocolates and Coffee had an expiration date of July 3rd so we HAD to go.

We interrupt this programming. I give up. To be continued on my laptop…. this just isn’t working…

I’m back. My apologies to anyone who saw this when it accidentally posted from my phone with barely a paragraph and a random pic. Five days later, I will continue my tale of last Wednesday.

With Gbaby #2 in the care of her Great Grandma, the four of us ventured to Dayton, OH to enjoy some delicious (and some “could have been better”) wine and chocolate pairings. All of the chocolate was yummy; we just thought a couple of the wines could have been…replaced with other wines.

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That being said, we had fun just hanging and spending our gift cards on Highlander Grogg coffee and chocolate and more chocolate. For my selection, I chose Mint Patties, Peanut Butter Delights, Almond, Cashew and Pecan Wurtles, Opera Creams, something with coconut, maybe a couple of other things. Suffice it to say, I have enough chocolate to keep my hormones in check for at least a little while.

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This was a most enjoyable time and I highly recommend a Chocolate-covered date night!

Don’t worry, Olympian Candies; you’re still my favorite. I haven’t left you for another.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Does this app even work?

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I am much faster at typing that Swyping but I have this here WordPress app on my phone so thought I’d give it a whirl. I have my doubts as blogging with the help of an Android’s autograft…I tweet..that should say…REST my case, auto-direct..dang it…auto-correct sounds like a lot of back-spacing. I’d just like to interject and say I did NOT enter any off those incorrect words-auto-correct did…just as I anticipated it would.

I just returned from the hour-long trip from driving my four cadets to Civil Air Patrol and back. I was hoping I’d have time to post something while at Refunds…Agents…crap…Wendy’s which is where I go for the two to three hours I wait for my guys and work on businessy stuff and check on Twitter. Alas, I was actually getting work done so didn’t have time to TYPE my blog post. After this experience, I can assure you that I will be typing my posts from here on out unless I have some blogging emergency that requires me to Swype my way through a post.

So….Lenae stopped by today and, of Coors.. You’ve got to be kidding me….of course, brought the grandbaby. The picture above is from today and I’d like to move it to this paragraph but I’m scared to death of what might happen so I’ll leave it there and just say my grandbaby is smiling and cooing, now! Just as adorable is her fan club of aunts and uncles with all their shenanigans trying to get her to smile and goo. She’s already discovered the game of “tongue tag,” a game I played with all my babies; I stuck out my tongue with baby watching, baby’s wheels turn, baby sticks out tongue and waits for me to repeat. After awhile, a newborn will start to instigate the game. I think this is genius. Yes, because the baby is learning cause and effect, but, more importantly, how to get a grown person to act like a complete idiot. This is a skill I have imparted to all of my children and am now imparting to my grandchildren. Empower the babies!
I’m fine …crud…. done Swyping.
What’s not shared it’s lost,
Michel…really? Michelle

Music Monday – Friend Fest 2013

WOOHOO!!! Friend Fest at Amish Acres in Nappanee, IN is awesomesauce! I know there are LOTS of music festivals out there but the folks at WFRN did their homework and have created the most family-friendly Christian music event I have been to or read about.  That this was just their second year is even more impressive. “What makes it so family-friendly?” you are wondering (I just know you are). Money, for one thing. Families want to take their families to worship with these A-MA-ZING bands but not everyone can afford all that a music festival entails, especially big families. You are usually nickeled and dimed for any and all amenities.

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First, the biggie for us was food, if you want to call that an amenity. Friend Fest allows food to be brought in! I’ve not been to a festival that allowed you to bring food in.  A friend just informed this weekend that another popular festival recently banned even eating in the parking lot. Say wha? No tailgating? Good grief…  Food was available for purchase at Friend Fest, there was a water tent at the back of the field (only a buck a bottle!), snow cones and ice cream on a hot day were perfect (they even had vendors walking through the crowd selling ice cream out of a cooler). There was no lack of sweet, cold stuff. BUT we brought 9 kids with us.  Purchasing food for 11 people is not cheap…even when buying cheap food. It adds up, dontcha know?  We were able to keep our crew hydrated and nourished all day without paying out the wazoo. That we didn’t purchase food from Amish Acres didn’t seem to hurt their business; the food lines stayed busy and we saw plenty of folks munching on their yums.  Meanwhile, our clan kept busy snacking on Capri Suns, strawberries, Cloud Cakes and a variety of other items we rarely indulge in then we dined on Pulled BBQ Pork, BBQ Beans and Sweet n Sour Broccoli Slaw. It’s nice having catering equipment to keep our vittles hot. 🙂 Did we make folks around us jealous? Maybe just a little. 🙂 That being said, we saved a fortune!

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Secondly, there was no additional charge for the Kids Zone. There was even a Children’s Stage that featured juggling, an illusionist, illusions, music, puppetry and clowning around. Of course, the Bounc House area is a kid’s favorite part of the festival. I was a little disturbed, though, by the Gator Hide-and-Slide. The kids climb up into the gator’s mouth,

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bounce around inside

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then come out the back end.

When I went to take pics of my lovely children exiting the inflatable reptile, I didn’t find a slide as expected, I found a slit. I said, “Oh, unt uh…” Craig said, “Yep. That’s where they come out.” No no no…that’s messed up. I told my Lenae that the designer of said gator must not have liked kids. She quickly replied, “Or really likes them and knows how kids think. What kid wouldn’t love to say they were pooped out of an alligator?” She has a point.

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Thirdly, free parking. Nuff said.

Fourthly, the Coffee House Stage. If you had attended Friend Fest and  wanted to hear some other musicians and Break-Out Sessions with some of the Main Stage artists while using the, again, FREE Wi-Fi and drinking your gourmet coffee, this was the place for you.

#5 The Venue: Amish Acres is a fantastic location for an event like this! It’s clean, it’s lovely, it’s big! It’s also just 5 minutes away from Play-Mor Campground which means a lot to those of us who prefer “roughing it” in an air-conditioned camper.  Primitive camping is available at Fountain Acres but that’s not roughing it to me. That’s dying a slow death of humidity and allergies. The only thing I would change is placing a canopy section in the rear for those who don’t want to melt especially those with children, “older” folks and those wearing walking casts whose legs get over heated…not that I know anyone like that.

Observe the hot children covered in 3 bottles of sunblock.

Observe the hot children covered in 3 bottles of sunblock.

Sixthly, yes there’s more…The staff and volunteers were incredible friendly from the time you pull in to park. Some of the crazy antics of those directing parking had us smiling from ear to ear. Everyone was eager to assist, hospitable and, you could tell, happy to be there serving.

SEVEN: stewardship.  I was tickled to read the following in the program: “It takes 3-4 years for a festival of this magnitude to sustain itself. Currently, ticket sales, sponsors and partners cover just 80% of the festival’s total expenses. We are almost there, yet it is still not quite enough.” 80% and it’s just the second year! They accomplished this without charging for parking, the Kids Zone, and every other little thing and without forcing folks to purchase their food. Kudos! As soon as I’m able, I hope to become a Friend Fest Partner. We need to sell more cheesecake.

Eight: Enough space for Ultimate Frisbee. The kids did mention that Frisbee to Building 429 made them feel like they were in a movie or a music video, LOL! They rawked, incidentally.

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Nine: Friends. We drove 4 hours from home and ran into several friends. Many hugs were shared and, of course, Frisbee.  It really was a Friend Fest! (Cheesy, I know).

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And last, but not least, the music.  We went Friday to see some of our favorites: Carrollton, Rhett Walker Band, For King and Country, Big Daddy Weave, Building 429 and Matthew West. If we had gone Saturday, we would have enjoyed OBB, Hyland, Moriah Peters, Finding Favour, Chris August, Kari Jobe, Jamie Grace, the Peter Furler Band and TobyMac. We opted for some R&R with the kiddos at the campground. That aside, the weekend held a high-caliber line-up that did not disappoint. I CANNOT wait to hear next year’s line-up!!!

(What? No pics from the bands?! That’s another post….;) )

www.WFRNFriendFest.com

Have you been to a music festival that was as family/pocketbook-friendly as this one? Let us all know!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

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39.95 plus shipping and handling

“I have decided that I am not a 40 something. I am 39.95, plus shipping and handling.” That was one of my tweets today on this, my 45th birthday.  It’s also Thursday which anyone on social media should know is Throw Back Thursday #tbt.  SO, having  a birthday that ushers me further away from 40 and closer to, gulp, 50 ON Throw Back Thursday is just asking for sentimental notions, denial and a midlife crisis.  We see our kids turn 10 and we say, “Oh, they grow so fast!”  I see me turn 45 and I’m thinking, “Where did the time go?”

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Holy cow.

There’s a saying that goes “You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.”  Add that to one of my responses to inquiries about the number of children we have, “They keep me young,” and we have a formula for a fountain of youth.  Now that grandbabies have entered the scene, there will be no end to my shenanigans!

It’s been through being a mom that I have, quite serendipitously, re-discovered my “inner youth” and have tried to get it right this go ‘round. For example, when I was a school-girl, I would bring home those arts and crafts books from the school library, look at all the cool projects I wanted to tackle then promptly NOT make a single one of them.

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This school girl here. The 70s, the height of fashion….

 I believe that was due to my serious lack of self confidence…among other things. Then comes along the Fecher kids

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who don’t know they’re supposed to be intimidated by trying new things, have creativity and talent oozing out of their ears and I’m a new woman…girl. They have been contagious.  Now, when I get on Pinterest, I see a project I want to attack, make a supply list and the next thing we know,  the kids are asking each other, “Why is Mom painting clothespins?” (True story).  I have a refreshed appetite for adventure, travel, friends, creativity and play.

I also have a constant reminder of what child-like faith looks like.  I get stressed out.  But something has been reprogrammed in me that keeps the worry at bay. Like a kid, I see and feel God taking care of me and I know that even when there’s absolutely no money available for business bills, God will come through somehow and I watch and wait for it. I get antsy when bills are past due or I don’t get a much-needed catering job. I fret when a child is injured or sick or when the youth of our household make less-than-ideal decisions (we’ve had open discussions about how people are all stupid, us included, and this expected). But each time I venture into “worry-land,” the “que sera sera” comes over me like a wave.  Kids love anticipation. I do, too. Something the kids have taught me is that the problems that normally cause worry should create anticipation for what God will do.  I wish I could remember which Christian speaker it was that I heard talk about problems. (If you know who this is, let me know). He said, “All God’s people got problems. If you don’t have a problem, you come forward and we’ll lay hands on you and pray God gives you a problem. Because if you want to see a miracle, first you gotta have a problem! You can’t have a miracle without a problem!”

One of my mantras is “Never a dull moment!”  Big family + new season of grandbabies +a business = problems-a-plenty or, what we affectionately call them, “growth opportunities.” Also opportunities for miracles. Never a dull moment.

I’m looking forward, with anticipation, to another year of growth opportunities…and miracles. :o)

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

The last time I saw myself I was either coming or going…

One would think with being told by the doctor to stay off of my feet for at least two weeks that I would have been able to catch up on my blog before now. I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on blogging to give myself some motivation but that hasn’t made any posts magically appear. I keep thinking that once I catch my breath, I’ll write something. Who am I kidding? I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. And while I’ve been waiting for that “spare” moment to happen, SO many events have transpired that I have failed to journal while in the moment. I’m not getting any younger; I’m not going to remember things unless I write it down, take a picture (or 10) or there is some sort of food that’s part of the event that will create a dendrite in my brain that will stir up the memory when I get a whiff of said food at a later date. I have blogged about my not blogging before. I probably will again. I need to write and it’s extremely frustrating when I don’t. There’s also something to be said for “use it or lose it.” There was a time when I could write rather well without it being a struggle. For example, that last sentence took me about 5 episodes of backspacing until I was satisfied with the wording.  Good grief.

I have a ton of pictures I want to post, cakes I want to display, stories to tell and, eventually, recipes to share. I heard someone once say that if you haven’t given up, you haven’t failed so here I am again. I’m at it again and I’m making an effort to be organized and set a time to write even if I don’t post.

That being said, here’s a “brief” description of the whirlwind that has transpired in our family since the end of May:

  • I “possibly” tore a tendon and/or ligament in my foot and “possibly” broke a toe carrying my toddler to bed at 3 in the morning
  • My sons dug out my crutches so I could hobble about
  • I had to go for x-rays the day before 2 graduation cakes needed to be done so Natalie and Noah started the cakes and icing while I headed to Eaton, Ohio for my doctor appointment with Isabelle as my helper. I took her for lunch, waited for the downpour to let up, then headed to Dayton for fondant as we did not have enough for both cakes and didn’t have time to order any.
  • MEANWHILE, back at the ranch, my boys are digging through closets and our storage shed to find my walking cast so I can work on the cakes the next day (even though I was supposed to get off of the foot ASAP)
  • My oldest who was due May 29 went into labor that night
  • Grandbaby #2 Rosemarie Lee was born June 1, 7:17a.m. Praise the Lord!
  • However, instead of heading off to see my new grandbaby, I had to go to our catering kitchen and finish cakes with Natalie and Noah. Natalie had to leave for an interview, came back to help some more then had to go to the theatre for play rehearsal.  I love doing cakes and I love our clients but that was not where I wanted to be that day. Plus, I was in excruciating pain (which made me a tad grumpy but Noah was a good sport, I must say). I confess my heart was not in it and I did not do as good of a job and I normally would have. :o(
  • FINALLY…Noah and I met up with the rest of the family at the hospital to FINALLY hold my new grandbaby and see my firstborn on her first day as a mommy. Talk about overwhelming…..
  • Went back the next day, hobbling on crutches, to see my grandbaby. By that night, my foot and ankle were pretty sore and pretty swollen.
  • SO…the rest of the week, I tried to be a good girl and sat with my foot up. Anyone who knows me knows I like to keep busy. This has not been easy! I kept the kiddos busy with school, cleaning missions and laundry while Natalie covered the shop all week AND had rehearsals for the play she was in.
  • Jump to this past Thursday, my daughter, Corinne, called to let me know she was coming into town early. She and her husband had already planned on coming in this weekend to see her first niece but Josh was informed that he might be working Saturday but they would not be able to let him know until Saturday SO…inhale…Corinne decided to pack her and Autumn Rose up and head on down to stay for a long weekend. YAY!
  • Meanwhile, back at the catering kitchen, Natalie and Noah were to the rescue again by starting a cupcake order.
  • Always the one to be obedient to doctor’s orders, the kids and I met up with Corinne to visit with Lenae and the new baby. (We’re on Friday at this point. Are you keeping up?)
  • Saturday A.M., I went in with Noah for the cupcake pick up.
  • Headed home but stopped for pork loin and sides to take to Grandpa’s for family get-together. Again, “staying off my feet.” Hobble, hobble….
  • Loaded up The Great White and ventured to Grandpa’s to visit with the grandbabies (and their parents and Grandpa). (Natalie could not join us as it was performance night for the play!)
  • I’d like to interject that I had Benjamin throw together a rub for the pork that was outstanding, I must say.
  • Natalie and Jillian left to pick up their BFF, Noah, and head to Richmond Civic Theatre where Corinne, Ben, Noah and I joined them to watch their production of The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Natalie was “Iris”, a sassy spirit. The play was fantastic as was Natalie. Proud mama.
  • MEANWHILE, Craig hauled everyone back home including Grandbaby #1.
  • Sunday… we slept in. Kids scrounged up pancakes and Corinne procrastinated about heading home. She was anxious to get home to her hubby but didn’t want to leave at the same time. It was a sweet visit and I’m glad she came early. My Autumn and her Autumn, though, have become pretty tight and I’m not sure how long they can go…she did say they might come visit again, soon, because Josh didn’t get to see the baby! We shall see…

So…this is a “quick” rundown of the past 10 ..T-E-N ..days of my life. A lot was left out! SO…somewhere in this…I passed myself coming or going….

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Less Miserable

1-DSC04403Last year, Richmond Civic Theatre announced that it was one of a handful of community theatres that did not miss the opportunity to nab performance rights to oh, I can’t stand it….Les Miserables.  Ever since, I have been trying to contain my “estaticness” and resist the temptation to act as crazy as some of my theatre friends who have Instagrammed, Twittered & Facebooked all manner of fanaticism since before  the movie was released in December. Y’all are ridiculous. And I love it! I have been preparing myself mentally to audition for Madam Thenardier. I know I can sing the part (I sound fantastic in the van) and the character would be a blast to play!  People who know me know I would have fun with it.  I purchased my soundtrack CD, picked up audition materials, YouTubed the piece to rehearse and wrote audition dates on the calendar. This was going to be a once in a lifetime thang, ya know?

As the audition dates have approached, I began to feel conflicted and wasn’t sure why. I’m not afraid of auditioning. I’ve done it before, had fun, got a part, had a blast with Pirates of Penzance! I’m ready to do it again.  Recently, I was listening to my Les Mis soundtrack and the youngsters were around so I skipped “Master of the House” because it has “bad words.” It hit me that, even if I were to get the part of Madam Thenardier, my little kids would not be able to see me in the play because of language and heaviness of subject matter and, if they were to see it, I would have to justify to them why it’s okay for mommy to use “bad words” simply because they are being sung and fit the character.  Wow. What was I thinking? True, the language suits the character but it doesn’t suit mine. Another time last week, little 3 year old Seth was sitting on my lap in the evening, as he usually does, and the thought hit me that I would be missing several months of our evening routine of cuddling. No biggie to the theatre or the rest of the world but it means everything to Seth in the evening. Especially since we started our catering business, I have to be gone sometimes during the day. Then it was time for lullabies. Seth likes to hear the one I wrote for him, “Teach Me Lord” or “Deep, Deep” then his lullaby is followed by Isaiah’s regular, “Amazing Grace.”  That, too, would not be happening for awhile as I know a rigorous rehearsal schedule is in store for those who get parts.  Then there’s the hilarity that emanates from the kitchen when the kids are doing dishes in the evening or my huge homeschooling, business-owning, catering to-do list. BUT, I’ve been telling myself, this is a once in a lifetime chance!

It was from the deep recesses of my mind that that phrase re-emerged from the past. I heard it on TV. It was Regis and Kathy Lee.  Yes, I used to watch the show on occasion. On one particular show, Kathy Lee was talking about how she was going to be hosting the Miss America or some other Pageant and, in order to fit the dress she wanted to wear, she was weaning her baby. Say wha? She was weaning her baby to fit a dress. Why? Her words still ring in my ear; “It’s a once in a lifetime chance.” I remember thinking, “Isn’t being your baby’s mommy a once in a lifetime chance?” So here I am, struggling with my once in a lifetimes, looking at each of them and, while I think working with the people at the theatre is fabulous, my little ones are precious and I have to be away from them enough as it is when we cater. I was able to do a play before because we didn’t own a business…that changes things quite a bit!

SO, I will be excited for my friends who get parts and I will continue to wear out my soundtrack. I will help with costumes and come see the play in August (as should everyone else) and I KNOW it will be fantastic! But I will be passing this round. I was feeling a tad miserable over missing out, but then I remembered what I would be missing out on if I didn’t miss out on Les Miserables and then some of us would really be miserable. Did you get all that? BUT, theatre peeps, please hold off on Fiddler on the Roof for a few years because I have sworn to my family that I WILL BE GOLDE!!! Well, I want to at least try. :o)

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

UPDATE: If I sound over-confident about getting the part of Mdm. Thenardier, it’s only because I’m not auditioning. IF I were, in fact, auditioning, I know good and well that the odds of getting a major role are slim (I not that cocky). I believe in shooting for the stars so as hit the moon. In this case the moon being the probable role of a whore (as listed in the audition materials) and then I’m back to my little kids asking, “Mommy, what role did you get?” “I’m a whore.” “Mommy, what’s a whore?” Sigh…Sound of Music is next..maybe I could be a Nazi…that would fun to try to explain, too…