Life Goes On…

Life marches on, every day, every hour, every minute. Sometimes I wish I could stop the clock…like this past Sunday while FaceTiming and watching the Seahawks game with our grandson. We laughed and cheered the Seahawks into a win over the Cowboys! It was definitely a fun time and I am thankful for technology that allows this Grammy to spend time with her grands even when they are 1500 miles away!!

And then there are days like today where I find myself looking for things to keep me grounded and centered. Today these two spoke to me…the first one was sent to me about a week ago by my bestie. And just like two weeks ago, it is right on the mark for where I am and where my mind and heart is.

and then this one:

Today has been a hard day yet I know that no matter what obstacles I face that I am never alone. And that God has never failed me!!! And when I do feel alone and I question whether anyone but me cares about XXXX that when I ask for prayer for something that many are there just to say a prayer for me. And for that I am truly thankful.

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What are you thankful for today?
What do you do to encourage yourself?
Do you have a favorite scripture verse or saying that you like to repeat on those difficult days.
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It’s Been Awhile ~

Life has been tough! Life just seems to be ????? heck I can’t even think of a word to describe it ~ it just has been tough!!!

Someone asked me why I hadn’t written anything in awhile ~ I’ve been thinking about that and my first response is “I’m just tired.” And then I realized I am just tired of everything that seems so heavy, so negative, so stagnant. And then I ask WHY? What has changed in my life…and I reflect back to the middle of March 2020. My anxiety was high, we were preparing to travel for 5 days to go see Ron’s oncologist for his annual cancer check up. Hard to believe it had been two years since his surgery to remove the nasty C.

For the most part we don’t watch the news every day but since we would be traveling we were watching the weather reports and talk of Covid was beginning to run rampant. Yes it was scary, yes it is a nasty bug but life for us continued…we faced what we needed to face and put one foot in front of the other. Tensions were running high here in our home. The little’s were anxious about us being gone for 5 nights, we were anxious of what would the doctor’s find, we were concerned how the little’s would do. It was the beginning of Spring Break and we had had to change our plans from a camping trip to a doctor’s visit. And yet we still put one foot in front of the other.

The doctor’s appointments went well. Cancer is still gone. The only concern voiced was Ron’s weight…but that is nothing new; we have both battled being overweight for all of our adult lives. What a relief. We both commented that night as we laid in bed how relieved we each were, apologized to each other for our shortness with each other and planned a nice one last night out without little’s for our return to the ranch.

And then life threw a punch…quarantined to the ranch. By the time the kids went back to school it was 159 days from school day to school day. Yes, we got out a bit: took the kidlets to the drive thru Safari in San Antonio, only getting out of the truck to go to the restroom, we bought a little blow up pool and the kids had many “swim days” right here at home but for the most part it was Ron or I going to the grocery store or picking up the mail. Even trips to the office were cancelled unless absolutely necessary. Kids did counseling via Zoom, even did a couple of doctor appointments via Zoom ~ do you know how hard it is to keep a 5 year old engaged in a conversation with a face on the screen to be diagnosed and treated by a physician. In my opinion, it was pretty worthless.

Then unexpected changes happened, got new kids to our home due to staff changes. Little’s were moved to a foster adopt home, start to finish was less than four weeks, crazy times for sure, more schedule changes here at the ranch, rumors and anxiety flew at a rapid pace about the future of the ranch, our jobs and then we were scrambling to get the kid’s stuff for school not knowing, were they going in person or would it be remote. Our girl decided she was going to go to school ~ a good move for her as it got her out of the house, she gets to see friends and interact with others.

And then I realized through it all that my depression was lurking around every corner. Visually appearing as exhaustion, lots of exhaustion, absolutely no energy to do anything. Yes I kept cooking for the family, attended the necessary training’s for the job, did what needed to be done but my heart was not in it, I was and am just plain tired.

And yet, through it all I have kept moving forward, slower at times with lots of naps thrown in and yet I haven’t totally given up. Though at times I would like to crawl into my recliner, crochet and watch TV and hide and hibernate from all, and some days I did just that…I give myself kudos for not totally throwing in the towel.

And so today, I find myself asking what do I need to do to get out of this funk…to get energy back, to feel alive and not like a slug. So I did what I know to do. I opened my Bible for a short devotion yesterday and today and always, always God has met me where I am.

Yesterday my devotion was titled “Bountiful Benefits” and this morning was “Relief from Your Distress” ~ yes, Jesus met me right where I am…God accepts me right where I am and loves me unconditionally and I was reminded that God forgives, He heals, He encourages and I am good enough just the way I am AND I have much to be thankful for…family, friends (even though the circle has gotten smaller ~ I think more my choice than anything), a job that doesn’t really feel like a job most of the time, the ability to be with my hubby most all the time and even when he does something that drives me crazy or makes me want to slap the sh** out of him, I am thankful for Ron, for Ron’s love for me and the patience he shows me when I drive him crazy or ask for three kinds of ice cream on a rainy night when he really doesn’t want to go out but he goes to the store anyway. Yes I am blessed beyond measure.

I am encouraged to cry out to the Lord, to give thanks for everything, to keep on trusting Him and to know that

For my good! I may not understand the why’s or how come’s but I do know that I am never alone and that no matter what happens with our jobs, our living situation or ??? that God is in control and that no matter what happens today or tomorrow, in the end everything will work together for good!

Thoughts to a Friend’s Post on Facebook

My friend, Pamela Richards-Woodall, wrote the following on her Facebook page earlier today:


If I have offended you in any way I apologize!
Please examine your words before they pop outta your mouth!
Power of life and death are in the tongue!
If you personally don’t know why someone has issues with this or that, ask them privately! Don’t assume and expect to enforce your beliefs!
Just because you feel and behave a certain way doesn’t mean everyone else can or should. If it were up to me every man or woman who abuses another would suffer severely!! I’m sure you feel something that powerful too. We’re all trying in our own way to get through this crap!!
When we begin to push our own expectations on others we’re stepping on a fine line! I don’t wear a mask. Instead of pouncing on me try asking me why I don’t! Or apply that to a thousand different people for a thousand different reasons!
We are not made from the same mold!
This stupid virus has caused a spirit of fear and panic and ugliness to be unleashed like I’ve never seen in my life! I know fear! I grew up with it.
Terrified while being held down with someone holding their hand over my mouth so I couldn’t scream out in horrific pain as a 3 year old…a 5 year old…a 10 year old…all the while someone was raping me!!! And at times several times a day!
I also was forced to attend gatherings where folks wore masks and did horrible things!
We as a society need to rip off the stigma of #mental health as it’s truly pathetic of how we act towards anyone who exhibits mental issues. But oh lordy…if that person has cancer or a broken bone or a heart attack then its all different.
No it’s not!! Anytime we are dealing with an issue whether physical or mental we all hurt!!! We are not the virus police! And we need to stop it! If Jesus lives in you then share His love and compassion!
He does have plenty to go around.
While at the store earlier I saw many with fear etched in their face.
I desperately wanted to hug them and pray! No one smiling! Folks glaring! Hurt my heart deeply! So I have a meltdown in the car at the store!
Yes my husband can and would shop or do anything I need.
But why should I or any number of 1000’s who deal with any form of mental issues be treated any differently?!? I fully expect to see the numbers of folks who fight these issues skyrocket very soon. Sadly I am not hearing anyone talking about the importance of giving them support!
Believe me…I’d so much rather not have these issues but I do. Its embarrassing and I have to stay alert to keep shame off me! I am healed and being healed! God has and continues to bless me as I grow in Him! I would not be alive if it were not for Him! Yet I know there are so many walking around ashamed of their mental health issues because of others around them! May God have mercy on us all!!*******

She also wrote “Secrets in the Hollers” https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Hollers-Story-Pamela-Richards-Woodall-ebook/dp/B07D2MCVZL/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=secrets+of+the+holler&qid=1586289478&sr=8-2

Pamela Richards-Woodall and I met through our mutual friend, Barbara Fairchild. We have shared many stories of our lives with each other. We encourage one another when the other needs it, we pray for each other when asked and sometimes on our own. We, as many others have struggled with so many RED flags the past few weeks that just wave their ugly head in our faces and our hearts…it is not a pretty sight.

Pam’s words echo mine ~ this morning I had to go to Walmart to get my weekly insulin (on a side note so thankful for our job and having insurance…my Ozempic was $24.99 without insurance it would have been $976.00 for four injections!!!)..while in Walmart I went down the aisle where the Easter candy was to get a few things for our kidlets…a man, probably in his late 40’s/early 50’s, walked by me twice in each direction and the second time I asked him if he was okay or did he need something from me…he turned and said “I don’t think candy is an essential food item.” and walked past. I just stood and stared at him and felt myself go shaky…I quickly finished getting the other things I needed (I had a list and was sticking to it). I went and paid and the cashier asked if I was okay? I had uncontrolled tears running down my face. I mumbled something to the effect “yes, I will be fine, some people are just so ignorant!”

After paying for my stuff I went to my car. I got in, locked the doors and called Ron…I’m so glad he was available to talk. I told him I had an anxiety attack while in Walmart. I couldn’t remember the last time I had had one. I didn’t go into a lot of detail as I was trying to compose myself as I still had to stop at the grocery store. Ron listened, told me he loved me and we hung up.

I drove myself to HEB, took a deep breath and thought “okay, I can do this.” The first thing I saw was an Easter lily…not an essential item and not on my list, but I knew that Ron always buys me an Easter lily and I knew if he was with me he would tell me to pick one out…so I did.

I got the rest of the groceries on my list as well as a couple of pizza’s for dinner. If you’ve read my blog in the past few days y’all know things have been rough and I was thinking of easy things to do to make today a good day ~ WE ALL needed it. I made it through the store without shedding a tear. Well that is until I got to where I was paying for the groceries and the cashier thanked me for following the rules and not bringing all the kidlets with me ~ because BBYR is a non-profit we are tax exempt and I had said I was a home parent at BBYR she knew we had kids…I told her no problem, I try to follow the rules/directions…how else can I expect our kidlets to follow the rules and/or do what is expected of them. As the tears trickled down my cheek, she asked if I was okay. I said yes and then shared about the man at Walmart and me buying some jelly beans for the kidlets for Easter. She looked astonished that someone would say something to me…and then she said if she could, she would give me a hug…instead we put our hands up to the plexiglass and high fived each other. The bagger, a young man of about 20 just shook his head and said “I want a high five too.” So the two of them on one side of the plexiglass and me on the other high fived!! And laughed!!! And laughed some more.

That cashier doesn’t have a clue how much her little interaction meant to me. I came home, got the groceries put away, gave the kidlets their lunch. Today was hot dogs, beans and a cookie!! Thanks Tracy for picking them up!! And thanks Stephen for encouraging me to get the breakfasts/lunches that the school district is providing.

While the kids were eating lunch I got on Facebook and was scrolling through…that’s when I saw Pam’s post. I started to share it on my page but my response was getting way too long this this blog post this afternoon.

To add to some of what Pam said above about Mental Health…I remember when I was dealing with major depression, suicidal thoughts (for years!) and how some people would say “Just get a grip.” “If you were a REAL Christian your faith would take away my depression.” And once after being in the hospital for three weeks (I had come very close to committing suicide) and returned to church a supposed friend (I say supposed because I don’t believe a true friend could be so hurtful…asked me what was it like being in there with all those crazies!…I remember looking at her and thinking well I must be crazy to think suicide is the answer to my problems…

Was I crazy…absolutely not…I was a hurting, scared, human being who felt so desperate to think my husband and my children would be better off without me…was I ever wrong…if I had given into the hurtful words, thoughts and feelings I would not be the woman I am today…not only am I a wife and mom but now I also have the greatest gift of all…grandchildren as well as three fun, wonderful sometimes frustrating foster children who call me Mama Ali and Papa Ron (well they call Ron that).

Thank you Pam for giving me the platform to talk/write about my experience today and to stand with you to tell others…stop acting like people who deal with mental health issues are some kind of strange person or being. And as Pam said, if I had a broken leg or cancer people wouldn’t think twice about why I did some thing or another. I remember one time talking with Gayle, my Psyche ARNP and she asked me if I was embarrassed I had diabetes and I replied no. She then asked, why am I embarrassed I have depression. It is an illness just like diabetes. It just effects people in a different way!

Pam shared from her heart and I too have shared from my heart…now my question to you is what can you do to help stop the stigma of negativity towards those of us who deal with a mental health issue just as those who deal with cancer or a blood disease?

Focusing on What’s Important

As I wrote the other day…life has been a struggle for me and like in days and years past I let my emotions control my actions…I had a counseling session scheduled for today BUT yesterday in the middle of my angst I cancelled it ~ DUH…now more than ever I really needed that time to get refocused and calm my spirit. I did have enough sense to schedule another appointment for next Tuesday…NO I will not be cancelling it!!! Telling myself that as much as you!!!

Yesterday morning I woke up at 4:07, struggled through the day with tears, worry, anxiety but I didn’t take a nap thinking it would help me to sleep better last night…well it didn’t…I was up numerous times and this morning I woke up at 4:22!! I laid in bed for about 15 minutes and then got up…made myself a bottle of water (taking thyroid medication can’t have anything to eat or drink but water for an hour), combed my hair, put on some earrings, made my way out to the living room. Putzed around until our night staff person left shortly after 6:00a. Cleaned off my desk, put some more pages in my planner and then opened my Bible and devotionals.

I don’t know why but I am
ALWAYS
and yet you always meet me where I am…
and this morning was no different!!

I opened Pocket Prayers for Moms given to me by my bestie and this was the verse that was written….
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along with this prayer
Heavenly Father, you are the Lord of all, the almighty God and the everlasting one. Be near to me when my family faces change. When nothing feels steady, it is hard on all of us. Give me strength and courage in times of transition. Allow my family to see YOU leading the way. May the rely on you, especially when they feel uncertain. I am so grateful that even when everything around us feels unstable, YOU are there. YOU are our rock. I thank you and praise you for that. In Christ’s name. Amen

Just WOW!!

This prayer says it all…all that I’m feeling and thinking…there is just so much uncertainty in today’s world yet GOD remains steadfast and consistent…the things this mama needs to be for her family…steadfast, consistent, loving, kind and caring. I need to remember to extend the grace that I am so willing to extend to others to myself and our kidlets.

So many changes are happening, transition is the name of the game…transition from kidlets going to school to being schooled at home, from fixing one meal a day to fixing two or three and then being reminded to accept the help that is being offered…our school district, like so many will provide breakfast and lunch for all our kidlets. At first I told the principal “no, we’ve got the meals covered” and then our boss reminding me that by allowing the school district to provide breakfast and lunch five days a week it will relieve me/us of some of the pressure and thinking needed to be done.

WOW…yesterday was the first day we took advantage of the school lunches and it was wonderful…no comments from the kids that they didn’t want such and such. They ate and cleaned up after themselves. It was a good thing. And we have breakfast for today: pop tarts, apple juice and milk. Easy for everyone!!!

As I continued with my time with the Lord, I wrote…
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and then I got distracted by looking for something on Facebook
but it turned out to be just what I needed for me, for us today

As I posted on Facebook we don’t have any beer but that’s okay, I have my Coke Zero, I won’t make a coffee cake but I will make my pineapple angel food cake bars…topped with whip cream and since Tuesday is one of our “chore days” we will pass on the big chores for the day like cleaning the bathrooms (we have six in our house!!!) and vacuuming but the laundry will at least get washed and dried…maybe even folded and some school work will get done…and this mama’s goal will be to keep a soft tone…remember the

marshmallows…and I might even have some for a treat for the kidlets!

Thank you Lord for my time with you this morning, for the many reminders that have come my way today…even this one…

Let’s remember…today is in the Lord’s hand, HE is in control and though we may face some struggles we will get through this and through it all let’s remember to give

Hard Lesson Learned :(

When I dropped this last night

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my heart sunk! I am blessed to be married to Ron as he didn’t yell or scream, he just said…it is life…we can deal with it.

At first I only thought, oh crap, no using my laptop while sitting on the couch…I am using the desktop provided and thankful I have access to it.

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as the day has progressed I have realized OH CRAP…all my financial records are on the lap top…that means all my tax information are on the computer!!! All my billing records for doctors, hospitals, credit cards, car and trailer, etc…are on the computer!!!!

I have been reassured by a couple of friends and our computer guru son that I will be able to get my information off the laptop…but first I need a new laptop to put the info on, I have to buy the

which our local Walmart does not carry (think small neighborhood Walmart not a Super Walmart so I will be ordering one from our trusty Amazon!! And that will all take time…

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which means I won’t be able to pay bills…heck all the information is on the computer!!!

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I will start printing up a monthly recap of our financial records so I have everything readily available for the next thing that comes my way…I am thinking like a power outage that lasts for more than a day or two, while spending time boondocking or camping on the beach…it’s called

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NOW though I have to be calm with myself and know that in the big scheme of things one week without access to my financials we will survive and I will just have to write some letters or make some phone calls once I have all the contact info again and explain why I am late…giving grace to myself and praying my creditors will do the same with me!

N is for Numb and Never Say Never

N is for Numb

Have been feeling kind of NUMB after hearing the news of the horrible explosions at the Boston Marathon.

I just can’t wrap my mind around how people can hurt innocent people.

I know there is evil in the world but it still hurts thinking about those who were killed or injured in this horrible tragedy.

I wish I could say more but Numb is all I can think of.

Then I remember a scripture verse I wrote about the other day

Is 40 31

And I find myself asking the Lord to be with those who have been hurt and with the family’s of those who lost loved ones.

As well as with parents  all over the US who are talking  to their children about this incident.  Lord give those parents wisdom to know how much to share and encourage them to pray with their children and for the Lord to give them each that peace that passes all understanding.

And I am reminded of my life verse:

Proverbs 3 56

And that even though I am feeling NUMB the Lord is still in charge and He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

And no matter the road we travel I am reminded I am never alone.

and then I thought about the word NEVER and learning to

never

In the early years of  our marriage I told Ron I would

Never move to Blaine

Never live with his mom

Never go to the Birch Bay Mennonite Church

Never live at the farm where he was raised

Well the Lord showed me it is NOT my will BUT HIS WILL for my life

because in February 1989 we moved to Blaine and in with Ron’s mom and we lived with each other for 3 1/2 months and didn’t kill each other 🙂

and we started to attend Birch Bay Bible Mennonite Church where Ron had attended all his grown up years.  Not only did we attend there we became members and attended the church for over three years.  We moved on to another church for three years and then returned to  Birch Bay Bible Mennonite Church for another three years!!!  Can you hear God laughing yet???

And in June of 1990 Anne, Ron’s mom, asked us if we would move to the farm.  It was a beautiful home, 2500 square feet on 40 acres.

Some of our best years were spent on that farm.

We raised our own meat: Sheep, Steers, Pigs, and Goats.

(lots of stories will be shared later about the life of living on a farm with animals who have minds of their own 🙂 )

We had some great parties and get-together’s.

(more stories to come)

And faced some difficult challenges

BUT through it all God was faithful!

And in my numbness today I am reminded  to stay strong and keep my faith in the Lord.  He has never let me down!!!

Thank you Lord for your faithfulness, help me to keep my faith strong in you!